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A Treasury of Our Times 


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A Treasury of Our Times 



A Treasury of Our Times 

Edited by 


Robert and Seon Manley 

The Macmillan Company, New York 

© Robert Manley and Seon Manley 1962 

All rights reserved. No part of this book 
may be reproduced in any form without 
permission in writing from the publisher, 
except by a reviewer who wishes to quote 
brief passages in connection with a review 
written for inclusion in a magazine or 

First Printing 

Printed in the United States of America 

Library of Congress catalog card number: 62-19556 

The Macmillan Company, New York 
Collier-Macmillan Canada, Ltd., Gait, Ontario 
Divisions of the Crowell-Collier Publishing Company 



We are grateful to the authors, agents and publishers 
who have given us permission to reprint material con- 
trolled by them. 

We would like to extend our appreciation to Mr. 
Martin Kessler for his unusual editorial acumen. We 
have acted as literary litmus papers to many ideas ex- 
pressed by friends and colleagues, and, in particular, 
would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Frank B. Manley, 
Mr. and Mrs. William W. Lewis, Mr. Herbert Shrifte, 
Mr. Herman Warmbold, Dr. Sylvia Bowman, Mr. Harry 
Cloudman, Mr. Ridley Enslow, and Miss Lucy Pederson- 
■, Krag. 
/ Specific credits areas follows: 

Acknowledgments v 

'The Great Pierpont Morgan: Pomp and Circum- 
stance" from The Great Pieipont Morgan by Frederick 
Lewis Allen. Copyright 1948 by Frederick Lewis Allen. 
Reprinted by permission of Harper & Brothers. 

''Henry Ford" by Allan Nevins. From American Heri- 
tage, The Magazine of History (c) 1954 by American 
Heritage Publishing Co., Inc. and reprinted by permis- 

Jean Paul Getty by Goronwy Rees. Reprinted with 

permission of The Macmillan Company from The 

Multimillionaires. Copyright © 1961 by Goronwy Rees. 

Also used by permission of David Higham Associated, 

/v, Ltd. 

' 'The Changing Businessman: From Free Trade To 

^ Fair Trade" by David Riesman in collaboration with 

pj Reuel Denney and Nathan Glazer. From The Lonely 

V Crowd by David Riesman in collaboration with Reuel 

Denney and Nathan Glazer, © 1950, by Yale University 

Press. Used with the permission of the publishers. 

"The New Managers" by Herrymon Maurer. Re- 
printed with permission of The Macmillan Company 
^^ from Great Enterprise by Herrymon Maurer. Copyright 

^ ©1955, Time, Inc. 

>• "The Hour of Letdown" from The Second Tree 

From the Corner by E. B. White. Copyright 1951 by 
E. B. White. Originally published in The New Yorker. 
Reprinted by permission of Harper & Brothers. 

"Men at Work" from Men At The Top by Osborn 
j;^ Elliott. Copyright © 1959 by Osborn Elliott. Reprinted 

j ' by permission of Harper & Brothers. 

"Togetherness: Organization Man" by William H. 
Whyte, Jr. from The Organization Man, copyright © 
1956 by William H. Whyte, Jr. Reprinted by permission 
of Simon and Schuster, Inc. 


vi Acknowledgments 

"A Day in the Life of the Boss" by Hugh Geeshn, Jr. 
Reprinted by permission from the Georgia Review. 
Copyright © 1958 by the University of Georgia. 

"The Managerial Mind'' by Charles E. Summer, Jr. 
Reprinted by permission from Harvard Business Review 
Copyright (c) 1959 by the President and Fellows of 
Harvard College. 

''Sincerely, Willis Wayde" by John P. Marquand. 
From Sincerely, Willis Wayde by John P. Marquand by 
permission of Little, Brown & Co. Copyright 1954, 1955 
by the Curtis Publishing Company, Copyright 1955 by 
John P. Marquand. 

"Status Symbols" by the Editors of The Wall Street 
Journal. Copyright 1957 by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. 
Used with permission of the publishers. 

"The New Man in the Executive Suite" by Cameron 
Hawley. From Executive Suite by Cameron Hawley. 
Copyright 1952, by Cameron Hawley. Published by 
Houghton, Mifflin Company. Reprinted with the per- 
mission of the publishers. 

"Highbrow, Lowbrow, Middlebrow" from The Taste- 
makeis by Russell Lynes. Copyright 1949 by Russell 
Lynes. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Brothers. 

"Management Wives: The Kinds of Women Who 
Make Successful Wives" from Big Business Leaders In 
America by W. Lloyd Warner and James Abegglen. 
Copyright 1955 by Harper & Brothers. Reprinted by per- 
mission of Harper & Brothers. 

"Dodsworth's Decision" by Sinclair Lewis. From 
Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis, copyright, 1929 by Har- 
court, Brace and World, Inc.; renewed © 1957 by 
Michael Lewis. Reprinted by permission of the pub- 
lishers. Title supplied by Editors. 

"Style of Life" by Pierre Martineau. From Motivation 
In Advertising by Pierre Martineau. Copyright 1957 by 

Acknowledgments vii 

the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., used by permis- 
sion of the publishers. 

''Dress" by Thorstein Veblen. From The Theoiy Of 
The Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen. All rights re- 
served. Reprinted by permission of the Viking Press, Inc. 

"The Man in The Gray Flannel Suit" by Sloan Wil- 
son from The Man In the Gray Flannel Suit, copyright 
© 1955 by Sloan Wilson. Reprinted by permission of 
Simon and Schuster, Inc. 

'If You Are Feeling Down, Read This" by Roger 
Price from In One Head and Out the Otheiy copyright 
1951 by Roger Price. Reprinted by permission of Simon 
and Schuster, Inc. 

"Conformity" by Melville Dalton. Reprinted with 
permission from Melville Dalton, Men Who Manage, 
copyright © 1959 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 

"Just One of the Boys" by Harvey Swados. From On 
The Line by Harvey Swados by permission of Little, 
Brown & Co. Copyright © 1957 by Harvey Swados. 

"The Search for Certainty in Industry" by Geraldine 
Pederson-Krag. From Peisonality Factors In Work And 
Employment^ copyright 1955, by Geraldine Pederson- 
Krag. (Originally published by Funk and Wagnalls). 
Reprinted by the kind permission of the author and the 
Personnel Rating Institute, New York. 

"An Ulcer, Gentlemen, Is An Unwritten Poem" by 
John Ciardi used by the kind permission of the author. 
(Originally a publication of the National College English 
Association under the title "Poetry and the Practical 

"Semantics and Today's Poetry" by Robert Alden. 
From The New York Times. Copyright 1960 by The 
New York Times Company. Used with the permission 
of the publishers. 

viii Acknowledgments 

''How to Become An Executive" by Perrin Stryker. 
Reprinted by special permission from The Executive 
Life by the editors of Fortune (Doubleday); © 1955 
Time, Inc. 

'The Managerial Game" from The Red Executive by 
David Granick. Copyright © 1960 by David Granick. 
Reprinted by permission of Doubleday & Company, Inc. 

"The Interview" by R, Prawer Jhabvala. Copyright © 
1957 by The New Yorker Magazine, Inc. Reprinted by 
permission of Russell & Volkening, Inc., and the New 
Yorker Magazine. 

"Time and Motion Study Under the Malayan Sun" 
by Pierre Boulle. Reprinted by permission of the pub- 
lisher. The Vanguard Press, from S.O.P.H.LA. by Pierre 
Boulle, Copyright 1959 by Pierre Boulle. Also reprinted 
by permission of Martin Seeker and Warburg Limited. 
Title supplied by the Editors. 

"The German Businessman" by Roy Lewis and Rose- 
mary Stewart. From The Managers by Roy Lewis and 
Rosemary Stewart. Copyright © 1958, 1961 by Roy 
Lewis and Rosemary Stewart. Reprinted by permission 
of The New American Library of World Literature, Inc., 
' ' New York. Also used by the permission of David Higham 

Associated, Ltd. 

"Where Will Tomorrow's Managers Come From" 
from The New Society by Peter F. Drucker. Copyright 
1949, 1950 by Peter F. Drucker. Reprinted by permission 
of Harper & Brothers. 

"Management in the 1980's" by Harold J. Leavitt and 
Thomas L. Whisler. Reprinted by permission from 
Harvard Business Review. © Copyright 1958 by the 
President and Fellows of Harvard College. 

"The Midas Plague" by Frederik Pohl. Copyright, 
1954 by Galaxy Publishing Corporation. From Galaxy 
Magazine. Reprinted by kind permission of the author. 

This book is ioi 

Robert R. Manley, Sr. 
and Webster C. Givens 



anagement man and woman bear the stamp, Made 
in U.S.A., just as surely as the products that roll 
from the assembly line. For the last fifty years we have nibbled at, 
then swallowed too quickly, but finally digested, a new revolution that 
has affected every man, woman, and child in the United States. Some 
of the spokesmen for our society still have industrial indigestion, but 
it has been more than two hundred years since James Watt first 
noticed that steaming pot, and the cultural, social, and industrial 
changes it brewed are an everyday diet for most of us. 

This is the age of mass-production technology. In the fifty years 
since Henry Ford brought out the first Model 'T'' (and the Model 
''T" and technology went together like a horse and carriage), the 
world has been transformed incredibly. The new revolution has been 
called by Peter Drucker the Industrial World Revolution. It has been 
christened by the editors of Fortune the Permanent Revolution. It 
has been recatalogued by Mr. Drucker as the New Society. It adds 
up, says John K. Galbraith, to the Affluent Society. We are, warns 
David Riesman, 'The Lonely Crowd." Our age has been applauded, 
spanked, chastised, demeaned, denied — but never ignored. Poets have 
called it the age of Angst. 

Writers have embroidered the last fifty years with a variety of 
adjectives — all compelling, all different. The lost generation paved 
the way for the silent generation, the silent generation gave way to 
the angry, the angry to the beatnik. Bunny Hug, to the Big Apple, 
to the Twist, we've danced to different drummers, to paraphrase 
Thoreau, but all we managed to do was waltz into ''the age of 


xii Preface 

conformity." Our fellow dancers join us in "the self-conscious society." 
Our culture has been pilloried as ''the waist-high culture." We 
have among us ''the image-makers," "the status seekers," "the opera- 
tors," "the promoters," "the persuaders," "the waste-makers," and 
"the unadjusted men," but always and above all, "the managers." 

This is a management age, and we are the men and women whose 
lives are, whether we like it or not, management lives. Obsolescence 
is in the office as well as the kitchen. Scientific management, whether 
we realize it or not, is in the kitchen as well as the office. Unlike many 
commentators on the American scene, the editors of this book look 
upon our own time with fascination and very frequently delight. We 
came to maturity in an age that reached maturity at the same time 
as we did. This in itself has made us aware and alert to our own 
times. In contrast to many spokesmen of this age, we feel, however, 
that we fit in. The challenges, confusions, and paradoxes of our time 
have, if we are to believe many writers, alienated the sensitive man 
and woman from his or her own spirit. We disagree. Alienation has 
always been with us and in the rarefied atmosphere of the moon, some 
colonist will not feel at home. 

We feel that we should never feel completely at home in our 
society. Irritation is the pearl of creativity in business life as well as 
in the arts, but we do feel very strongly that that irritation should be 
expressed. We are a vocal people and should articulate the hopes and 
desires of our society. In the pages that follow John Ciardi points out 
that an ulcer is an unwritten poem. The ulcerations of our society, 
which so many of our sensitive writers pick at with festered pens, are 
cleared up by the antiseptic of exposure. 

We are a people who have always delighted as did our Puritan 
fathers before us in laying bare our sins. As did Nathaniel Hawthorne's 
character in The Scarlet Letter, we wear a mark on our foreheads. 
Hester Prynne wore the initial "A" for adultery, but we, alas, wear 
it for another reason; "S" for success. As a nation we do fit into our 
technological age with success, but our very success makes us guilty. 
Paradoxically, if our success is adulterated, we are not only guilty but 
miserable as well. 

Only a country that feels guilty of its own ability to cope with 
the technology of its age could feel the need to attack itself as we do 
in the United States. Not only do we attack ourselves, but we almost 
relish the attacks made upon us by others. 

Piehce xiii 

Mrs. Trollope questioned our manners and morals in the nine- 
teenth century. Dickens threw vitriol in the shiny machinery of our 
eyes. But no writers have been so taken to our bosom as the prophets 
in our own country who, if not honored, at least have been turned 
into best sellers. 

In these pages you will find many of these prophets. They speak 
with a ringing voice in an effort to clarify, explain, interpret, the 
world we live in. 

James Burnham said ours was the age of "the managerial revolu- 
tion." His was the pioneer use of this title, and he was one of the 
first to see clearly that a pattern of society was emerging which would 
be called managerial and that the managers of the world would be, 
in terms of history, the ruling princes of our day. Mr. Burnham 
predicted the rise of this new ruling class, the managers, in 1941. 
The Managerial Revolution was a book that made an impression on 
the world despite its controversial approach to political theory. ''We 
are,'' said Mr. Burnham, ''now in a period of social transition, a period 
characterized, that is, by an unusually rapid rate of change of the most 
important economic, social, political, and cultural institutions of 
society. This transition is horn the type of society which we have 
called capitalist or bourgeois to a type of society which we shall call 

"What is occurring in this transition is a drive for social domi- 
nance, for power and privilege, for the position of ruling class, by the 
social group or class of the managers. . . ." 

With these words Mr. Burnham christened an age as accurately, 
we think, as any other political, social, or cultural historian. William 
H. Whyte, Jr., came along and further channeled management man 
into organization man. C. P. Snow most recently did some data 
processing and submitted scientific man, who has the future "in his 

C. P. Snow has invented a new picture of management man — 
the scientist struggling for power, for status, for understanding with 
as much white heat as any other organization man. Whether the 
scientist has the future "in his bones," or simply the bones of the 
world in his hands before he pushes that button, only time will tell. 
In the meantime this book presents the drama of management 
man in depth, in humor, in fact, in fiction. It is not a snapshot. A 
snapshot won't do, because the world is changing so rapidly it will 

xiV Preface 

blur in the printing. A carefully executed portrait won't do, because in 
a world whose horizons have suddenly opened to another dimension, 
our identities can no longer be fixed in pigments. We are not writ in 
water but in time — and, as we enter a more fully automated world, 
a more fully comprehended space, we may realize that only some 
media as refined as cinema film, with all its montages, clips, close- 
ups, and flashbacks, could create a picture of management man today 
that tomorrow would understand, because even as you read this you 
are in tomorrow. We have tried to approximate this device in this 
anthology to give you a word film showing many opinions, many 
facets, many picture frames with an often changing focus to allow 
for a richer dimension. How it shapes up depends on your own private 
lens. Some of the opinions in this book are our own. Most of these 
diverse opinions are expressed by some of the most acute observers 
of our time. All of these word pictures are somewhat different; some 
writers approach their world with stinging clarity, some approach it 
obliquely like a crab, some — Thorstein Veblen for example — are fre- 
quently crabbed. Our world today has been dissected, bit by bit, to 
see if it hurts, to see if it would cry, ''Ouch," or simply to see if it was 
really sick. Underneath those bandages is good healthy tissue, and 
over those bandages is a management man in a gray flannel suit. We 
salute him. He is as much a hero as Renaissance man. 

S. G. M. 
^ ' R. R. M. 


I. MANAGEMENT MAN: Who He Is And Who He Isnt 1 

1. The Great Pierpont Morgan: Pomp and Circum- 
stance by Frederick Lewis Allen 3 

2. Henry Ford by Allan Nevins 25 

3. Jean Paul Getty by Goronwy Rees 39 

4. The Changing Businessman: From Free Trade to 
Fair Trade by David Riesman (with Reuel Den- 

NEY and Nathan Glazer) 57 

5. The New Manager by Herrymon Maurer 67 

6. The Hour of Letdown by E. B. White 91 

II. MANAGEMENT MAN: How He Works 97 

7. Men at Work by Osborn Elliott 99 

8. Togetherness: Organization Man by William 

H. Whyte, Jr. 113 

9. A Day in the Life of the Boss by Hugh Gees- 

LiN, Jr. 129 

10. The Managerial Mind by Charles E. Summer, Jr. 149 

11. Sincerely, Willis Wayde by John P. Marquand 171 

12. Status Symbols by Editors of The WaJJ Street 
Journal 179 

13. The New Man in the Executive Suite by Cameron 
Hawley 187 

III. MANAGEMENT MAN: How He Lives 197 

.14. Highbrow, Lowbrow, Middlebrow by Russell 

Lynes 199 

15. Management Wives: The Kind of Women Who 
Make Successful Wives by W. Lloyd Warner 

and James Abegglen 217 

16. Dodsworth's Decision by Sinclair Lewis 225 


xvi Contents 

17. Style of Life by Pierre Martineau 235 

18. Dress by Thorstein Veblen 245 

19. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan 
Wilson 261 

IV. MANAGEMENT MAN: Some Of His Problems 267 

20. If You Are Feeling Down, Read This by Roger 
Price 269 

- 21. Conformity by Melville Dalton 273 

' ,-/' "^ 22, Just One of the Boys by Harvey Svv^ados 279 
, . • 23. The Search for Certainty In Industry by Geral- 

dine Pederson-Krag, M.D. 301 

24. An Ulcer, Gentlemen, Is an Unwritten Poem by 
John Ciardi 315 

25. Semantics and Today's 'Toetry" by Robert Alden 323 

26. How To Become an Executive by Perrin Stryker 329 

V. MANAGEMENT MAN: Wheie He Is Found 341 

27. The Red Executive: The Managerial Game by 
David Granick 343 

:/ 28. The Interview by R. Prawer Jhabvala 353 
29. Time and Motion Study Under the Malayan Sun 

by Pierre Boulle 365 
„ 30. The German Businessman by Roy Lewis and 

Rosemary Stewart 377 

VI. MANAGEMENT MAN: His Future 389 

31. Where Will Tomorrow's Managers Come From? 

by Peter F. Drucker 391 

32. Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy 397 

33. Management in the 1980's by Harold J. Leavitt 

and Thomas L. Whisler 411 

34. The Midas Plague by Frederik Pohl 429 

35. After Image of Management Man 485 



Who He Is and Who He Isn't 




It was midnighty DecemhcT 3Jst, J 899. Herbert L. SatterJee 
recorded it well. ''At midnighty when the hells and hoins 
piochimed the beginning of the New Year, he was looking 
ioiwaid with the eagerness oi a much younger man to the 
great possibilities oi the century that was about to begin." 

He, oi course, was /. Pieipont Morgan, greatest representa- 
tive oi an age that was drawing to a close by the end oi the 
last century. Mr. Morgan was deEnitely not a management 
man, and his age oi almost dynastic splendor was hardly a 
management age. It was called by many other names: the 
Age oi the Robber Baron, the Age oi the Tycoon, the Age oi 
Coniidence. But whatever, it was an age oi unusual opulence 
and complacency. Only later would those irritant and irritated 
journalists whom Theodore Roosevelt called the ''muck- 
rakers" start tumbling the silk hats oi nineteenth century 
business into the mud. 

. The average wage was $500.00 a year. Andrew Carnegie's 
annual income, however, was at least twenty thousand times 
greater than that oi the average. These were statistics that 
would be rare in the new century. There were many things 

* From: The Great Pieipont Morgan. (New York: Harper & 
Brothers), 1948. 


The Great Pieipont Morgan; Pomp and Circumstance 

that would never he the same again. In 1900 the average 
working day was ten hours, six days a week— a total oi sixty 
hours a week. The problems oi our age oi leisure, at least ior 
anybody who wasnt Morgan or Carnegie, had not arisen. 
Henry Ford was to initiate the $SM day and this Utopian 
scheme shocked the nation. No one worried about the teen- 
agers; 26% oi them were employed. Gainiully, it was called, 
but they certainly never attended school. There were four 
million public paupers, but there was also Andrew Carnegie, 
John D. Rockeieller, and J. Pierpont Morgan. 

There were plenty oi stiff celluloid collars, but there was 
no such thing as corporation man. American business had not 
crystallized into the corporate pattern we have today. Personal 
proprietorship was the thing: Family solidarity had been the 
backbone oi American industry since the seventeenth cen- 
tury. Just take a look at some oi the big names in American 
industry— du Pont, Grace, Ford, Olin Chemical, Dow, Swiit, 
all are "iamiiy names. It was not the ''togetherness oi 
organization man/' but the togetherness oi Eesh and blood 
that determined business Hie, the status oi hill and valley 
{the workers were always iound in the valley and the owners 
on the hill) and the mores oi social Hie. That iamily back- 
bone, however, was beginning to crack, and, although it was 
being braced, it was eventually broken by such men as 

The bells oi 1900 rang in the banker, the financier, and the 
manager. Family capital, over a period oi time, had over- 
extended itseli. The banker was in an unusual position; he 
could now step in and control. In the many mergers oi great 
companies that opened the new century, a new figure stood 
out: he was called the manager. 

The proiessional manager who emerged had no proprie- 
tory state in the business by which he was employed. He was 
not a king passing along his power automatically to the 
prince, his son. He had to account to outside controllers; he 
could not take unlimited vacations; he could not accumulate 
unbelievable fortunes; his status was always open to question. 

The manager would never be a Morgan— the most power- 
iul businessman not only in the United States, but probably 


Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 5 

in the whole world — a man who tipped a PuJIman porter 
with a hundied-doUai hill, a man who as a boy collected the 
autographs oi bishops, a man who only realized several weeks 
after he bought Andrew Carnegie's steel company for nearly 
half a billion dollars that he did not have the purchase in 
writing. The manager would never be the colorful character 
that the social historian, Frederick Lewis Allen, creates in the 
brilliant portrait that follows — but he nonetheless would 
leave his impress upon the twentieth century that had made 

Management Man; Who He Is and Who He Isn't 


t is doubtful if any citizen of the United States ever 
led — or ever will lead, for that matter — a life more regal 
than that of Pierpont Morgan during the early years of the twentieth 
century, when he was in his sixties and seventies. Not that he led all 
comers in wealth; for although he made, on the average, several million 
dollars a year, nevertheless, if it had been possible to compile each 
year an accurate rank-list of American incomes in order of size, 
probably Morgan's would usually have stood well below the top. Nor 
did he lead in lavishness, for there have been plenty of more extrava- 
gant spenders and certainly innumerable flashier ones; Morgan, a 
publicity hater, never spent for mere show. Nor was he pre-eminent 
in the world of fashion, for he went his way with contemptuous 
indifference to the glitter of social pretension. What set him apart 
from all others was a combination of large wealth, large spending, 
social assurance, international social experience, love of grandeur, and 
restrained taste. 

Once in a conversation with that Prince of Wales who later 
became Edward VII of England, Gambetta remarked that if the 
French Republic were to make noblemen of successful business men, 
as did Britain, ''the Duke of Rockfount would never rub shoulders 
with the Duke of Industry." The phrase is apt: Morgan was by nature 
a duke of industry, pursuing the life of an unostentatious gentleman 
on a majestic scale. 

His home base during these years continued to be No. 219 
Madison Avenue. It was a very ample house in which his family 
enjoyed the ministrations of some twelve servants (including a butler, 
two or three other menservants, a lady's maid, a cook, two kitchen 
maids, two chambermaids, a laundress, and a gardener) but it was by 
no means palatial. Fashionable society had for many years been 
gravitating farther uptown; the Murray Hill region where Morgan 
remained, and the house itself, represented not fashion, but rather the 
strict brownstone tradition of conservative Manhattan respectability. 
He kept accumulating property in the neighborhood: some lots on 
Thirty-sixth Street for houses for his children, a lot on Thirty-fifth 

8 The Great Pieipont Morgan: Pomp and Circumstance 

Street for a new stable, the big brownstone Phelps Stokes house (still 
standing in 1948) at the corner of Madison and Thirty-seventh for a 
residence for his son Jack; and enough land just to the east of No. 219, 
on Thirty-sixth Street, for a separate lawn-surrounded building in 
which he could house the books and manuscripts that had long since 
overflowed the storage room in his basement. 

Upon this Library building — definitely projected in 1900 and 
completed in 1906 — he lavished loving pains. He chose as his architect 
Charles F. McKim, the leading practitioner at that time of the art of 
adapting classical and Renaissance designs to practical American pur- 
poses; there was no better guarantee of order, restraint, and a severe 
beauty quite detached from the American scene. Though brownstone 
was quite all right for domestic purposes, art, it was thought, deserved 
a more exquisite setting; and so McKim produced a one-story white 
marble building in early sixteenth-century Italian Renaissance style, 
with an arched entrance, a large central hall, a great east room lined 
with books to the ceiling, a small north office room, and a large west 
room which had the air of a gentleman's capacious and beautifully 
appointed living room. The white marble blocks of which the Library 
was built were set in place without mortar, after the ancient Greek 
practice, despite the extra polishing — and extra expense — which this 
involved. From the day the building was completed to the end of 
Morgan's life, he spent more and more of his time in its big west 
room. Its grandeur, its masculine comfort, the Florentine paintings 
that hung on its red walls, the statuette of Eros that stood on a 
pedestal by the fireplace, the other bits of choice craftsmanship that 
decorated it, all satisfied him completely. 

There was also the Morgan country house, Cragston, at Highland 
Falls on the Hudson — another old-style place, in a resort progressively 
abandoned by fashion. Cragston embodied simplicity on an ample 
scale, with half a dozen or so guest rooms, small detached cottages for 
the staff, cattle barns, a dairy, and kennels for fifty or more of Morgan's 
prize collies, which monotonously carried off blue ribbons at the dog 
shows. Here Mrs. Morgan spent most of the time between April and 
mid-autumn, and here Pierpont Morgan came when the opportunity 
offered, which in his later years was not very often, so very widely did 
his activities range. 

For winter holidays he had also a thousand-acre place in the 
Adirondacks, Camp Uncas; for less spartan intervals in the cold 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 

months, a furnished apartment in the building called ''Sans Souci" at 
the Jekyll Island Club, on a piny island on the Georgia coast; and, 
for stopovers when his yacht was in Narragansett Bay waters, a small 
''fishing box" at Newport, with an expert cook in readiness to satisfy 
the palates of his guests. (He seldom if ever fished there; a picture of 
him, in yachting costume, sitting beside a string of remarkably large 
bass was staged as a joke by his friend Charles Lanier; the fish had 
been caught by others.) 

In London his headquarters was the big double house at Prince's 
Gate which had formerly been his father's town residence. This, 
too, was unpretentious in aspect; but very few unpretentious houses 
contain paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Hobbema, Velasquez, 
Gainsborough, Reynolds, Constable, Turner, and other artists of wide 
renown, or for that matter contain a special room designed to display 
a series of Fragonard panels. And outside London there was Dover 
House, a comfortable country seat so satisfactorily equipped with 
gardens, orchards, and a dairy farm that when Morgan ended his 
English visit in 1902 his special railway carriage, attached to the boat 
train for Southampton, was piled high at one end — according to 
Herbert Satterlee's account — with "the boxes from Dover House that 
contained melons, hot-house grapes, peaches, nectarines, and bottles 
of cream sufficient for the voyage," these supplementary provisions 
being taken along because, in Satterlee's matter-of-fact words, "the 
menu of even the best transatlantic liner was much more simple then 
than it is today." 

In Paris, Rome, and watering places such as his favorite Aix-les- 
Bains, Morgan needed no private property, for he always had his pick 
of accommodations; in the Hotel Bristol at Paris and in the Grand 
Hotel at Rome there were special suites set aside for his use whenever 
he came. 

But the finest of his residences was none of these which I have 
mentioned, but the Coisaii. Not Corsair 11 now, for that vessel had 
been sold to the government for use in the Spanish War, where it 
saw service as the Gloucestei (and was hit in the mast by a Spanish 
shell), but Corsair III, which was completed at the end of 1898 to 
take her place. The new vessel was very large: 302 feet long, as against 

JO The Great Pieipont Morgan: Pomp and Circumstance 

204 for Corsair 11 and 165 for Coisaii I. There have been larger private 
pleasure craft, but not many of them, and none of such regal dimen- 
sions are produced today; the Fleischmann diesel yacht pictured in 
Life in 1947 as the ''first big luxury vessel since the war'' was a mere 

When Morgan decided to build Coisair III, he specified to his 
friend Beavor Webb, who took charge of her construction, that she 
must be much larger than Corsair 11 but that her interior fittings must 
be identical. (Thus was conservatism combined with a love for big- 
ness.) His insistance on close resemblance to Coisdi U raised a 
number of difficult problems. It was found, for example, that the 
kind of carpets that had been bought for Coisaii U were no longer 
made. But that did not bother Morgan; he ordered the old patterns 
set up on the looms and new carpets especially made for him with 
exactly the old design. 

The graceful black steamer served many uses. She could ferry 
him up the Hudson to Cragston. When he was working in Wall 
Street during the summer months, he could dine and sleep and 
breakfast aboard her between week ends. A launch would meet him 
and his friends at the dock at West Thirty-fifth Street and take them 
across the river to where the Coisaii lay at anchor off the Jersey shore; 
in the morning they would return, after a monumental breakfast at 
which astonished guests would watch Morgan work his way through a 
menu of fruit, porridge, eggs, hash, fried fish, and sliced tomatoes. 
Or the party would board the Coisair at the East Twenty-third Street 
landing of the New York Yacht Club, and she would take them 
through Hell Gate to an anchorage off Great Neck in Long Island 
Sound; in warm weather this was pleasantly cooler than the Hudson, 
and in the evening the Corsair might steam slowly up and down the 
Sound, while the company sat in wicker chairs on the deck and 
conversed, Morgan perhaps dozing off as they did so, his cigar between 
his fingers. 

The CoTsaii also could be packed with guests for a cruise of the 
New York Yacht Club, of which Morgan was commodore in 1897-99, 
and for whose new clubhouse in West Forty-fourth Street he had 
donated the land; and it was from her deck, in 1901 (the year when 
he formed the Steel Corporation), that Morgan watched the first of 
the races for the America's Cup between Sir Thomas Lipton's Sham- 
rock J J and the American defender, the Columbia. Morgan had a 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 11 

special concern over this contest because he himself had headed the 
syndicate which had built the Columbia, and thus the lovely racing 
yacht was virtually his personal property. But he couldn't see the later 
races because he had to take a special trainload of bishops and other 
guests to the San Francisco Convention of the Episcopal Church — a 
convention during which his attention was from time to time divided 
between the ecclesiastical debates and a series of telegrams recording 
the leg-by-leg progress of Shamrock II and CoJumbia as they raced 
off Sandy Hook, with Columbia winning. 

Morgan could also use the Coisaii from time to time as a con- 
veyance and a haven on his travels abroad, for she was seaworthy 
enough to cross the ocean, albeit uncomfortably, and thus could 
serve him as a floating residence in the quiet waters of the Mediter- 
ranean. And if he himself never ventured to make the crossing in her, 
that mattered hardly more than the fact that she could not ascend 
the Nile. In the last years of his life he engaged Thomas Cook and 
Sons to build for him a private all-steel Nile steamer, the Khaigeh, 
with paddle wheels; and as for his voyages across the Atlantic, in a 
sense he had his own ships for those too. For did he not nearly 
always travel by the ships of the White Star Line, and was not the 
White Star Line a part of the great ship combination, the Inter- 
national Mercantile Marine, which he himself organized in 1902? And 
was he not therefore treated on board the Oceanic or the Germanic 
almost exactly as if he were the owner of the line and of all the ships 
that carried her flag? (It was said, for example, that before the ill-fated 
Titanic had even been built, he had been shown the plans and had 
picked out which was to be his suite aboard her. ) 

As one of these White Star liners, bringing Pierpont Morgan 
home from Europe, approached New York, the Corsaii would steam 
down the bay to meet her, festive with pennants from stem to stern, 
while Morgan responded to her salute by leaning over the rail and 
swinging a handkerchief from side to side; then after the liner had 
been warped into her dock, the yacht would take him on up the river 
to Cragston. What grander welcome could there be to one's native 

There was one occasion when it was not Pierpont but Mrs. 
Morgan who was arriving, and he not only went out in the Corsair 
to meet her liner, but climbed into a launch as the liner paused at 
Quarantine, and then — as soon as the health officer had gone down 

12 The Great Pieipont Morgan: Pomp and Circumstance 

the liner's side by rope ladder — swung his launch alongside the great 
ship, grabbed the ladder, and climbed up the full sixty perpendicular 
feet to the liner's deck — a cigar in his mouth and a straw hat on his 
head. At this time he was sixty-two years old and entirely unaccus- 
tomed to exercise, and the long climb was difficult for him. 'The 
time was long enough/' says Satterlee, ''for the sporting element on 
the decks of the Oceanic to make bets as to whether he would ever 
reach the rail. If he should fail, there was very little chance of doing 
anything for him in that tideway. When his face, dripping with 
perspiration, appeared over the rail, and he got where he could throw 
his leg over it, he waved aside all the outstretched hands and asked, 
'Where is Mrs. Morgan?' and without pausing followed the steward 
down to her cabin." 

A frequently quoted remark of Morgan's about the proprietorship 
of a great pleasure vessel like the Coisaii deserves repetition here 
despite its familiarity. Some successful man who was thinking of buy- 
ing a steam yacht asked him about the cost of maintaining it. Said 
Morgan, shortly: "Anybody who even has to think about the cost 
had better not get one." 

When traveling within the United States, Morgan customarily 
used a private car. He did not own one; he would simply use one of 
those owned by one of the railroads in which he was influential. And 
on occasion he used a special train, as when he took the large party 
of bishops and laymen and other guests to the San Francisco Episcopal 
Convention in 1901, putting them up for the duration of the con- 
vention at the large Crocker residence, to which he had sent in 
advance Louis Sherry and a catering staff; and afterward conveying 
them home by a roundabout route which included a stop at Seattle, 
where Morgan took his guests to a fur store and invited them to pick 
out fur rugs or fur collars or gloves as keepsakes from him. On another 
occasion, some years later, he was in a hurry to get back from a busi- 
ness trip to Chicago and made the trip home by New York Central 
special train with the track cleared ahead; time from Chicago to New 
York, sixteen hours and three-quarters, which in 1908 was pretty 

The wife of a Morgan partner said, much later, that her most 
vivid recollection of a trip she made on a Morgan private car was of 
the entranced expression on the porter's face when the banker tipped 
him with a hundred-dollar bill. 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 13 

Morgan once remarked that he could do a year's work in nine 
months; but not in a year; and after he reached the age of sixty he was 
usually absent from the ofEce routine for some three or four months 
of each twelve. Usually he would leave New York for England in 
March or thereabouts, and from then until June or July would divide 
his time between London — where he kept in touch with the office of 
J. S. Morgan & Co. — and the Continent. Wherever he was, whether 
at Prince's Gate or Dover House, or at the Bristol in Paris, or at Aix- 
les-Bains, or at the Grand Hotel in Rome, or journeying about to 
inspect works of art, or taking a look at the excavations conducted in 
Egypt by the Metropolitan Museum, he was in touch with his office 
by coded cable; either he would be accompanied by a secretary with 
a code book, or he would rely upon J. S. Morgan & Co. or Morgan, 
Harjes & Co. to decode the messages that came from New York, 
usually several a week. A message might say, for example, something 
like, ''We have concluded a Burlington bond issue on such-and-such 
terms and unless we hear from you to the contrary will proceed," and 
he would cable his assent. But on these holidays he liked to throw off 
responsibility, leaving the conduct of affairs wholly to his associates; 
it was seldom that his return message counseled caution or delay. Part 
of the time in London he might be busy with banking consultations, 
but much the largest part of his time was given to the art dealers who 
day after day besieged Prince's Gate or his suite at the Bristol, bringing 
paintings or porcelains or miniatures or rare books or manuscripts for 
his inspection. After his return to New York there might be a few 
other interruptions of the working routine — a voyage up the coast in 
the Corsair, a Yacht Club cruise, a church convention trip, or during 
the winter a few days in the Adirondacks or at Jekyll Island. 

So accustomed was he to vacationing on this generous scale that 
it was not always easy for him to understand that such a life was not 
possible for a great many people. When one of his young partners-to- 
be, preparing to enter the firm, said he would like to be able to 
manage his work so as to get three months off each year, Morgan was 
all affability: ''Why certainly. Of course. Let's see: you're coming in 
January first — why don't you pick up your family on February first and 
take them up the Nile? Have you ever been up the Nile?" The young 
man demurred. He and his wife had young children. He doubted if 

14 The Great Pieipont Morgan: Pomp and Circumstance 

this would be possible. (Privately, of course, he was meanwhile 
wondering what sort of impression it would make in the Street if he 
went off on a long holiday at the end of his first month at the Corner.) 
But Morgan made light of his doubts. ''Nonsense. Take a couple of 
nurses. Take a doctor if you want to.'' It was all very simple to him 
and he was cordial and enthusiastic, planning a trip which — as the 
young partner later said — ''of course never came off." 

Morgan was very loyal to family ties and family rituals — the 
Sunday-evening hymn singing (at which he loved to hear, and some- 
times to sing in a voice of uncertain pitch, old favorites such as "Blest 
Be the Tie That Binds,'' "The Church's One Foundation," "Rock of 
Ages," or "Jesus, Lover of My Soul"); the family Thanksgiving dinner 
(with four kinds of pie); the Christmas festivities (a tree for the 
grandchildren, an expedition in a cab to leave presents at friends' 
houses, and a big Christmas dinner with the choir of St. George's 
Church to sing for the company, with the famous Negro baritone 
Harry Burleigh as soloist). When he was at breakfast at No. 219, he 
liked to have one of his daughters, usually Louisa Satterlee, with him, 
because Mrs. Morgan had her coffee upstairs; and nothing pleased 
him more than to have one or two small grandchildren playing about 
in the dining room. With Mrs. Morgan he was always affectionate 
and deferential. But she was seldom with him on the Coisaii or on 
the European trips of his later years; when she traveled abroad, she 
went separately. Being shy, domestic by taste, and in increasingly 
uncertain health, she became increasingly settled in the habit of 
remaining behind at No. 219 and at Cragston while he with his over- 
powering energy and hunger for human society roamed widely. 

Usually on his voyages abroad it was a daughter who accompanied 
him — again most likely Louisa; and since he loved to have many 
people about him and had at his disposal big houses, a very big yacht, 
and almost unlimited means, he was accompanied wherever he went 
by considerable parties of friends. Once he remarked that no man 
who did not number among his close associates several men who 
would be willing to spend much time with him, ought to consider 
having a yacht: otherwise he would find it the loneliest place in the 
world. The frequent presence of attractive women in the party on his 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 15 

trips abroad or on the Coisaii caused systematic gossip, especially as 
he liked nothing better than to escort one of them to the jewelers* 
shops in the Rue de la Paix and ask her to choose what she liked. 
Exactly how much fire there was behind the smoke of continuous 
rumor is a matter of conjecture; without doubt there was some. But 
as I have already remarked, it must be remembered that in a puritani- 
cal society rumor always puts the most extreme construction upon any 
companionship that looks at all unorthodox, especially if a man of 
note is involved. 

Naturally, too, Morgan's lamentable nose was attributed by some 
people to high living. As a matter of fact, he drank very moderately: 
ordinarily nothing before dinnertime (it was before the era of the 
inevitable cocktail ) ; some wine at dinner and perhaps a cordial after- 
ward; nothing in the evening. He smoked perpetually; or rather, there 
was usually a cigar between his lips or between his fingers from 
breakfast until bedtime, though it was often unlighted for considerable 
intervals. He breakfasted hugely, but lunched lightly; in the office he 
would have a chicken or turkey sandwich and perhaps a slice of pie 
set out for him in the back room, where he ate it alone; or perhaps, 
in summer, nothing but a plate of sliced peaches which he would bury 
in sugar. No coffee, no milk; just a glass of water. In his last years, 
when he came to the office only briefly, he would sometimes arrive 
about half-past twelve and join the partners for lunch in the building; 
on one or more such occasions, a partner recalls his choosing a some- 
what startling, if small, repast — a dozen raw oysters and a slice of 
mince pie. 

But if his lunch was usually light, he enjoyed dining largely and 
well; and dining largely and well, during the first decade of the 
twentieth century, was among people of means a formidable thing 
indeed. Those were the days of multicourse dinners — six or eight or 
ten courses. Morgan belonged to a small dining group who called 
themselves the Zodiac Club; they met from time to time at the house 
of one or another of the members, or at a club, and vied with one 
another in offering sumptuous meals. Here is the menu of one Zodiac 
dinner, given at the University Club; Satterlee, from whose book I 
quote it, swears that it was devised to be eaten right through from 
start to finish, though he imagines that most members preferred to 
let one or more of the dishes pass untasted: 

16 The Great Pieipont Morgan; Pomp and Circumstance 

Amontillado Sherry 
Cotuit oysters 
Bisque of crabs a la Norfolk 
Consomme de volaille Sevign6 
Hors-d'oeuvres varies 
Rhine Wine, 1893 
Soft clams a Tancienne 
Chateau-La tour, 1878 
- Saddle and rack of spring lamb 

Mint sauce 
; /■ Peas a la Frangaise 

' . , Bermuda potatoes rissolees 

Moet & Chandon, 1893 
Terrapin, Maryland Club 
Grapefruit au Kirsch 
> . ' CJos-Vougeot, J893 

Canvasback ducks 
Fried hominy 
Celery a Funiversite 
" . Parfait noisettes 
. Coffee 

Cognac J80S 

Whatever Morgan did, he did in a big way, whether it was 
organizing a party or buying masterpieces. When Herbert Satterlee 
and Morgan's daughter Louisa were about to be married in 1900, their 
first idea was that they would prefer a modest service in the little 
church at Highland Falls, followed by a reception at Cragston. But 
Morgan took over the planning, and the result was that the ceremony 
was held at St. George's in New York, with cards of admission because 
the church would hold only fifteen hundred people; for the reception, 
Morgan had a large ballroom temporarily erected behind No. 219 to 
hold the twenty-four hundred guests who came. As for his purchases 
of art, they were made on such a scale that an annual worry at 23 
Wall Street at the year end, when the books of the firm were balanced, 
was whether Morgan's personal balance in New York would be large 
enough to meet the debit balances accumulated through the year as 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 17 

a result of his habit of paying for works of art with checks drawn on 
the London or the Paris firm. 

There is a story — probably apocryphal but nevertheless suggestive 
of Morgan's purchasing methods — to the effect that once two men 
who owned a steel mill decided, as they approached Morgan's office, 
that they would be willing to take five million dollars for it but might 
as well begin by asking for ten; whereupon Morgan said to them 
abruptly as they entered, ''Now, I don't want to hear any talk from 
you men; I know all about your plant and what it's worth; I haven't 
time for any haggling; I'm going to give you twenty million dollars — 
now take it or leave it." Often art dealers got much more money from 
him than they had dreamed of getting. On more than one occasion, 
finding that some object of art that appealed to him was part of a 
large and varied collection, he said to himself, ''What's the use of 
bothering about one little piece when I might get them all?" and 
promptly made a large offer for the whole collection. Nor did he 
like to waste time. Once he was just getting into his automobile to 
take the steamer for Europe when a dealer came along and told him 
that such-and-such a collection was for sale. It was a collection which 
Morgan knew all about. "Very well," said he, "if you are authorized 
to negotiate for it, you may buy it for me" — and drove off without 
another word. 

The Rigbys, in their entertaining book on collectors and collect- 
ing, produce two other equally characteristic anecdotes. One is to the 
effect that George S. Hellman once brought Morgan a Vermeer to 
look at, and found to his surprise that "the great Dutchman's name 
was strange to the Morgan ear." Thereupon Hellman delivered a 
brief lecture on Vermeer, his place in the history of art, and the value 
set upon his work in recent sales. 

"Morgan gazed at the picture; abruptly asked the price. 

" 'One hundred thousand dollars,' said the dealer. 

" 'I'll take it,' snapped Morgan, and the deal was concluded." 

The Rigbys' other story is to the effect that after Morgan had 
bought the famous Garland Collection of Chinese porcelain, he 
remarked to Duveen, the dealer who had acted for him, "I understand 
that Mr. Garland did not complete the collection." That was true, 
said Duveen. "Then," said Morgan, "I shall be glad if you will 
complete it for me" — an instruction which, in view of the expense of 
Chinese porcelains, was enough to take a dealer's breath away. 

18 The Great Pieipont Morgan: Pomp and Circumstance 

He showered the Metropohtan Museum with gifts in great va- 
riety; in 1906, for example, when he bought the great Hoentschel 
collection of eighteenth-century French decorative art and also of 
Gothic decorative art, he gave the eighteenth-century part of it to the 
museum outright, and announced that he would deposit the entire 
Gothic part of it on loan. He filled his new Library with beautiful 
things, he filled Prince's Gate, he loaned treasures in quantity to this 
museum and that, yet still the works of art piled up in storage — and 
he could not stop, had no idea of stopping. Edward P. Mitchell, editor 
of the New York Sun, sketched him briefly as he sat in the West 
Room of his Library about 1910, an old man, yet still burning with 
the collector's fever: 

The lesser monarchs of finance, of insurance, of transportation, of 
individual enterprise, each in his domain as haughty as Lucifer, were glad 
to stand in the corridor waiting their turns like applicants for minor clerk- 
ships in the ante-room of an important official, while he sat at his desk in 
his library room within, looking through a pile of newly bound volumes 
which the binder had sent for his inspection, giving a three-seconds glance 
at some treasure of printed or manuscript literature which was to go in- 
stanter to the shelf or safe in that incomparable storehouse, probably never 
to be seen again by the eyes then contemplating the acquisition. 

Mitchell ended his description with the comment, 'Tt was his 
possession now and Mr. Morgan was pleased." That was true; but 
that, I think, was not all. He was engaged in assembling a big thing — 
as big in its way as the Steel Corporation — every bit of which was to 
him beautiful; and he must make it bigger still, the very biggest 
aggregation of lovely things that there was or ever could be. 

After breakfast at No. 219, and perhaps a business conference or 
two or a call from an art dealer, Pierpont Morgan would proceed 
downtown in a horse-drawn box cab which he hired from the New 
York Cab Company; or, in his very latest years, in a large automobile. 
Arriving at the Drexel Building — which occupied the site of the 
present Morgan headquarters at Broad and Wall — he would establish 
himself at a corner desk on the Broad Street side of the ground-floor 
banking rooms; there was a glassed-in place behind him which was 
occupied by secretaries. He dressed severely in a dark suit, with a 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 19 

wing collar and an Ascot tie which filled almost completely the V of 
shirt front at the neck; he had a taste for fancy waistcoats, which 
people liked to give him for Christmas, but those were for the 
Corsair or for traveling; he wore to the office an old-fashioned square- 
topped derby hat, or in summer a wide-brimmed Panama. At intervals 
he would retire from his desk in the front office to a back room which 
was in the adjoining Mills Building; he had another desk in this room, 
and his partner Charles Steele had one, and there was a pleasant open 
fire; here he could work more comfortably and quietly, out of sight of 
people who came to ask for him. There was, of course, a stream of 
these, some of whom had no idea of being granted an audience but 
came in merely in order to be seen going in and out of the building; 
there was even one occasion on which a broker carefully dropped on 
the steps of 23 Wall Street an unsigned buying order for securities, in 
the hope that passers-by might pick it up and the report might go 
about that the great House of Morgan was interested in the stock. 

At some time between twelve and three o'clock, ''the Senior," as 
they called him in the office, would make a tour to look at the books. 
First to the stock desk, then to the security department, then to the 
general books, beginning with the cash position and going on to the 
ledgers which showed the balances of all depositors. It was a nervous 
moment for the clerks, for his searchlight gaze seemed to be able to 
take in a whole page of figures in an instant and catch any irregularity; 
if a clerk had put down a 4 per cent bond as 4V2 his eye would pick 
up the error without fail. His manner was ordinarily quiet and kindly, 
but if he found something that he disapproved of, he would shout 
out something like ''Who gave that order, Kinnicut?" in a loud deep 
voice — and if he caught a mistake that he attributed to sheer care- 
lessness he would thunder. He often took his sandwich lunch in the 
back room as late as two or even three o'clock; by four or thereabouts 
the box cab would be waiting outside the door — often to remain there 
hopefully for an hour or two; finally he would be through for the day 
and would be off in the cab, to proceed to his beloved Library or to 
drop off at a friend's house for a call on the way home. 


That his mien could be frightening — as Steffens has so well made 
clear — is undeniable. When people first met him the one thing they 

20 The Great Pierpont Morgan; Pomp and Circumstance 

saw was his nose; trying not to look at it, they met his blazing eyes, 
and were speechless. One woman who came to know him very well 
said that for the first few weeks of her acquaintance with him she was 
terrified; only gradually did she come to realize that behind his alarm- 
ing front were courtesy and kindness. Edward Steichen, who took a 
great photograph of him, says that meeting his gaze was a little like 
confronting the headlights of an express train bearing down on one. 
If one could step off the track, they were merely awe inspiring; if one 
could not, they were terrifying. 

His gestures were abrupt. In the office he would snatch up a 
piece of paper as if pouncing on it with a claw; he would glance at it 
and either lay it down or crumple it up so suddenly that one who did 
not know him would have thought him angry. Yet to people who did 
not catch him off guard, or who did not seem to him to be trying 
to take advantage of him, he was truly courteous; it is characteristic 
that while almost everybody who has written about him has applied 
to him the word ''brusque," people who worked with him daily 
emphasize the graciousness of his manners and say that everybody in 
the Morgan organization worshiped him. 

He was given to sudden acts of good will. There was, for example, 
the time when a reception was being held at the Metropolitan Mu- 
seum, with ladies and gentlemen in evening dress filing up in a long 
line to meet the president of the museum. In the line was a young 
woman in plain attire with a baby in her arms; and some of those 
about Morgan, overtaken by the contemptible sense of the proprieties 
which afflicts small-minded people, wondered whether she should not 
be asked to step out of line. Not so Morgan; he greeted her affably 
and then, as she went on, whispered to Robert W. De Forest, who 
stood beside him: ''Quick — get that baby's name, so that I can make 
it a life fellow of the museum." 

"That will cost you a thousand dollars," said De Forest. 

"So much the better," said Morgan. Nor did he forget. The 
woman proved to be the wife of a new museum attendant; at the next 
meeting of the museum board, her baby was formally elected a life 
fellow, and Morgan footed the bill. 

There are many other stories of friendly acts: of his lending a 
million dollars to a wealthy friend who had had great losses during 
the grim days of 1893, and, when the friend asked what collateral he 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 21 

would want, saying, 'Tou may need your collateral with the banks — 
I am lending you the money on your business record and on what I 
know your character to be"; of his getting word of the business failure 
of a man who had been a companion of his earliest years in New York, 
and at once writing to him, ''Why didn't you let me know?"; of his 
taking great pains to concoct a job for an elderly lady which would 
give her a sense that she was earning her way. 

In his life of Henry P. Davison, Thomas W. Lamont tells of an 
incident that happened on the very first day when he reported for 
work as a partner — January 2, 1911. The Carnegie Trust Company in 
New York was in trouble, and by a process of contagion, runs had 
started on two other small banks in poor neighborhoods in uptown 
Manhattan. Representatives of these two banks came to see Lamont 
and another Morgan partner, William H. Porter, to see if the House 
of Morgan could be persuaded to stand behind the banks in their 
emergency. An examination of the last balance sheets of the banks 
indicated that this would be risky, and the young partners were 
inclined to say no; but Porter called up Morgan, who was at his 
Library, to get his advice. Whereupon — according to Lamont — Mor- 
gan, learning that the two banks had some thirty thousand depositors 
and that they were mostly poor Eastsiders, said, somewhat to Porter's 
amazement: ''Well, some way must be found to help those poor 
people. We musn't let them lose all they have in the world. Suppose 
that, at worst, we were to guarantee the payment of these deposits 
in full. You say the total is only six million dollars? That means that 
the firm can't lose more than six million dollars, doesn't it?" The firm 
thereupon backed the two banks, and — partly because of the fact that 
its great prestige restored confidence in them — escaped with a limited 
loss which according to Lamont amounted in the end to about 

That anecdote has always roused in me considerable skepticism. 
I have found it hard to believe that in the banking world anybody 
would think or talk in those terms; and I still think that in reporting 
the dialogue Lamont sentimentalized the language used. Yet whatever 
words Morgan actually chose, the incident did happen. And it was 
characteristic. No competition was involved. Nobody could be trying 
to get the better of Morgan. And under such circumstances he could 
astonish people with his openhandedness. 

22 The Great Pierpont Morgan: Pomp and Circumstance 


He could also surprise them by his readiness to pay heavy tribute 
to the principle of fiduciary responsibility. There was one year in 
which the House of Morgan ran at a loss; the reason was that in 1905 
Morgan had purchased, as agent for the Erie Railroad without com- 
mission, a controlling interest in a small railroad line known as the 
Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton, and then had discovered — after he 
had turned over the stock to the Erie — that the figures which had 
been shown him, and on the basis of which he had made the purchase, 
did not show the true financial condition of the line, which was 
actually in very bad straits. As one partner later said, ''It was incredible 
to him that anyone would show him false figures." Thereupon he at 
once bought back the line from the Erie at the same price that the 
Erie had paid for it — about twelve million dollars — and put it into 
receivership, at what proved to be a virtually total loss to J. P. Morgan 
& Co. — a loss of so many million dollars that it translated a year of 
lucrative business into a year of deficit. Morgan would not let it be 
said that his firm did not stand back of whatever responsibilities it had 
undertaken on behalf of other institutions, even if its only fault was 
that it had allowed itself to be deceived. 

He had a way of saying to partners entering his firm that he 
wanted its business done ''up here" (raising his hand high in air) "not 
down there" (dropping his hand near the floor). It was as if an old 
king were instructing his young princes in the moral responsibilities 
attending the royal function. For kingly Morgan was — in the range 
of his possessions, in the splendor of his journeyings, in the bigness of 
his plans, in the weight of his presence. And kingly he was too in his 
limitations. His royal manner of living and of traveling insulated him 
from the great mass of men and women; and though he might by an 
impulsive act of kindness make connection with them, most of the 
time they were to him creatures apart. Legislation designed to give 
them a greater share in the fruits of the national economy seemed 
to him unsound — an affront to the thrift and sagacity upon which 
national prosperity must be founded. He believed it was the lot of 
such improvident or inexpert or unlucky people to go their way un- 
aided except by private charity — charity to which he would be one 
of the first to contribute. 

When Morgan thought of industry, he thought of it not in terms 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 23 

of the thousands of workers whose sweat made its production possible, 
nor even in terms of the engineering advances which contributed to 
its efficiency, so much as of the investors whose money supported it, 
and of the officers and directors whose duty it was to protect and 
enrich the investors. For these officers and directors his standards were 
both stern and aristocratic: they had better be honest, and it was 
preferable that they be gentlemen. He would have liked to see the 
United States run by gentlemen. That these gentlemen, too, might 
be insulated from their fellow men, and might like to run things in 
whatever way proved most comfortable for themselves, and might 
have swollen ideas of their proper share of the fruits of industry, did 
not apparently occur to him; if you had suggested such an idea to him 
he would probably have replied promptly that certainly the politicians 
liked to run things to their own advantage. In short, though he was 
unswervingly loyal to the United States and believed in its govern- 
ment, his ideas were kingly, like his conduct of life; the idea of 
democracy evaded him. 

In a society sufEciently equalitarian to hate to see great luxury 
existing side by side with great poverty, such a way of life as Morgan's 
is out of place. Even in his own lifetime it was out of place. But after 
his special kingly fashion, he played his part in the grand manner. 



''They were living things to him^ those machines.'' 

Management hie has evolved in a world in which machines 
have become moie and more living things, until in our own 
time a machine can lead, add, translate, and do almost every- 
thing except predict an election and bleed. The man about 
whom the above words were justly said was the father oi the 
greatest machine management age evolved. It did not have 
the endless possibilities oi the computer, it did not have the 
gigantic power oi an atomic power plant, but it had an 
immediacy, a sense oi ireedom about it, a pioneer quality 
that in many ways still supplies the only adventure leit to 
management man— a car on the open road. 

The Model *T" and Henry Ford sparked, throttled, and 
cranked the twentieth century. The automobile, says its his- 
torian, John Keats, "changed our dress, manners, social cus- 
toms, vacation habits, the shape oi our cities, consumer 
purchasing patterns, common tastes, and positions in inter- 

The man most responsible for this social and economic 
revolution had, they said, ''gadgets in his head." Certainly his 
well-oiled genius was responsible ior mass-production, the 
one factor more than any other that produced our technolog- 
ical age. 

The American historian Allan Nevins assembles here a 
many-faceted picture oi a man who in 1908 evolved the 
Model "T" and, with it, put America into gear. 

* From: American Heritage, 1954. 


A / 

Management Man; Who He Is and Who He Isnt 27 


'ne of the most remarkable facts about Henry Ford is 
that his fame and the Ford legend were born almost 
simultaneously^ and born full-grown. Both came late in life, when he 
was fifty. The industrialist, we may say without exaggeration, was little 
known until he suddenly became a world celebrity. He was tossed into 
international eminence on January 5, 1914, when the Ford Motor 
Company startled the globe with its ''Five Dollar Day.'' 

Until then, Henry Ford had touched the national consciousness 
but occasionally and glancingly. He had founded the Ford Motor 
Company in 1903, when already forty; after some years of uncertain 
struggle, he had produced a model, distinguished from previous 
Models B, N, and S by the letter T, which precisely filled a ravenous 
national want; he had erected at Highland Park, just outside Detroit, 
one of the best-planned and most efficient factories in the world. He 
and a group of tireless, gifted associates were bringing to birth that 
magic implement of global change termed mass production; still little 
understood (for most people ignorantly equate it with quantity pro- 
duction, which is merely one of its half-dozen chief components) , and 
then not understood at all. Ford was, of course, known in the Detroit 
area as an astonishingly successful manufacturer, and in the auto- 
motive world as the dauntless leader of the battle against the Selden 
patent monopoly. But elsewhere until 1914 the name Ford connoted 
a brand, not a man. 

Henry Ford's sudden fame did not burst and fade; it remained 
fixed in the skies as a brightening star. Seekers for facts on the mind 
and character of the man before 1914 find that the materials are 
scanty, that most of them pertain to his activities as a racer and in the 
shop, and that when pieced together they furnish no real portrait. But 
after 1914, what a change! The spate of articles, books, interviews, and 
reminiscences becomes ever more torrential. 'The Ford and Charlie 
Chaplin," remarked Will Rogers, "are the best known objects in the 
world." As the renown grew, unfortunately, so did the confusing 
legend. As one parodist of the Ford Motor Company slogan put it, 
''Watch the Ford myths go by!" 

Lord Northcliffe extolled Henry Ford to the British public as 

28 Henry Ford 

symbol and exemplar of American energy, confidence and resourceful- 
ness. In Paris Charles M. Schwab, invited to a dinner by Baron 
Rothschild, electrified the table by describing Ford's achievements. 
For a time in 1923-24 Ford's quasi-autobiography, translated as Mein 
Leben und Werke, was one of the two best-selling books in Germany. 
From Sweden to Turkey a new word, FoidismuSy epitomized the 
new mass production engineering, the new low-price economy of 
abundance, and the new efficiency speed-up. Throughout Latin Amer- 
ica Ford's personality was regarded as summing up the quintessential 
American traits and gifts. As for Russia, painfully aware of her 
industrial backwardness, Henry Ford was a figure about whom moujiks 
and mechanics wove wistful dreams. Foidizatsia or Fordization was 
one of the terms of power in the new era. A visit from Ford, wrote 
Maurice Hindus, would have called out Russian admirers in hordes. 

In the United States, too, the Ford of fact and the Ford of myth 
were for a time indistinguishably blended. ''While I do not accept all 
of Mr. Ford's industrial philosophy," wrote John A. Ryan, Director of 
the National Catholic Welfare Council, after reading My Life and 
Work, '1 realize more strongly than ever that he has made the greatest 
contribution toward a solution of more than one of our industrial 
problems that has yet been made by any captain of industry." The 
public devoured books about him by Allan Benson, William L. 
Stidger, Rose Franklin Lane, Charles Merz, Ralph Graves, Dean 
Marquis and others. Technologists and manufacturers studied the 
classic work on Ford machines and Ford methods by Arnold and 
Faurote, an able primer of mass production requirements. 

The fifteen years 1914-29 saw Henry Ford at apogee. The Amer- 
ican masses took him to their hearts; every clerk and farmer had his 
own image of the man. But which lines in that image were false, and 
which true? The task of gaining a true portrait was not simplified by 
writers who tried to establish an artificial pattern, for of all human 
beings the complicated, disorganized Ford least responds to that effort. 
Nor was it simplified by the fact that Henry Ford discovered himself 
about the time the world did, and announced his discovery by pro- 
nunciamentos from on high and essays in self portraiture which wove 
oriental embroideries about the real man. 

At once the most impressive and most disturbing fact about 
Henry Ford is the extent to which he held up a mirror to the modern 
American character. In his technological talents, his feats as organizer, 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 29 

his individualistic economics, his social blindness, his frequent brilliant 
insights, his broad veins of ignorance, prejudice and suspicion, he at 
first glance seems unique; a man fascinating in his intricacy even to 
those who most detest some of his traits. Assuredly, we say, nobody 
else ever existed like Henry Ford. Nothing in industrial history is 
more inspiring than the triumphs of his early days at the Piquette and 
Highland Park plants. Nothing in the same history is more depressing 
than some of the pages he wrote later, pages that would approach high 
tragedy but for their stupidity and harshness. We seek for threads to 
explain his labyrinthine complications, and we suddenly realize that 
in strength and weakness, pioneering thrust and reactionary conser- 
vatism, generosity and selfishness, he came near typifying the America 
of his time. 

What made him a tremendous American force was his clear 
perception of four or five fundamental facts: that the American people 
not only wanted but needed cars in millions; that a single durable 
inexpensive model could meet that demand; that new technological 
elements (precise standardization of parts, the multiplication and 
perfection of machine tools, separation of the job into minutely spe- 
cialized functions, quantity manufacture, continuous motion, Taylor 
time studies), when woven together to create mass production, could 
furnish the millions of cheap vehicles; that steady price reduction 
meant steady marked expansion (''Every time I lower the price a 
dollar we gain a thousand new buyers''); and that high wages meant 
high buying power. 

All this was as obvious, when demonstrated, as Columbus' art of 
standing the egg on end. Until demonstrated it was so far from patent 
that the ablest manufacturers scoffed, and Ford had to battle his 
principal partner and the current trend to prove it. A special kind of 
genius lies in seeing what everybody says is obvious — once somebody 
thinks of it; and Ford, in relation to his time, had that genius. It 
changed the world. 

Next to this insight, Henry Ford's most striking gift was un- 
questionably his peculiar engineering talent. In mechanics, he com- 
bined much of da Vinci's creative quality with much of James Watt's 
practical acumen. As a few rare men are born with the power of 
instantaneously performing intricate mathematical computations. Ford 
had the power of divining almost any mechanism at a glance. He read 
engines. Indeed, his associate, W. J. Cameron, says that the great 

30 Henry Ford 

engine collections he made in his museum and at Greenfield Village 
were his historical library. 'They were living things to him, those 
machines. He could almost diagnose the arrangement by touching it. 
There was a peculiar sympathy between him and a machine.'' That 
gift had been with him when as a boy he took apart and reassembled 
every watch he could reach, and spent a Sunday afternoon, his father 
away, in disassembling and restoring much of a steam engine. 

This flair generated a passion which explains another of his traits, 
his remarkable power of hard, sustained work. The relaxed air which 
the mature Henry Ford wore in public, together with his well- 
advertised recreations in square dancing, collecting Americana, and 
making excursions with Edison, Firestone and Burroughs, concealed 
from some observers the fact that from boyhood to old age (he was 
seventy in 1933) he led a singularly laborious, concentrated life. In 
his prime his frequent periods of intense industry would have ex- 
hausted a less resilient man. At Highland Park and River Rouge his 
responsibilities were always enormous. But his engineering passion 
made one important part of them — the responsibility for steady 
mechanical experiment — almost a refreshment. 

Day-to-day study of his activities gives us the picture of a man in 
whose quick brain exploded a steady succession of technological ideas. 
A helical type of spring band to use in planetary transmission for 
holding the drum; a new element in the carburetor; a bolder mode 
of casting the engine block — always some novel ingenuity had to be 
tried. That side of his mind never rested. ''He was up at Harbor Beach 
one time," writes E. G. Liebold, ''where he had a summer cottage, and 
he was coming home with Edsel. Suddenly he said: Tve got the idea. 
We're going to put a worm drive on the tractor.' " That idea solved 
the theretofore vexatious problem of power transmission to the rear 
axle — or so he hoped; and he drove his tractor factory ahead with 
enhanced zest. 

In experimentation, pioneering, the quest for fruitful mechanical 
innovations, Henry Ford at his apogee was happiest.. Anything was 
worth trying. In 1914-15 he became interested in making a better 
electric car than any on the market, and reports spread that he and 
Edison were collaborating. If the idea proved good (which it did not) 
he thought of forming a separate company. A later scheme called for 
the use of plastics in building cars; in fact, a plastic-body car was built. 
This experiment was connected with Ford's intense interest in pro- 

Management Man; Who He Is and Who He Isnt 31 

moting soy bean culture^ for he realized that American agriculture 
needed new crops and that American industry suffered from a growing 
shortage of vegetable oils. 

Now and then some incident suggested how far back in Ford's 
career his experimental passion reached. He once turned his attention 
to a slide-valve engine on which Knight, of Willys-Knight, held some 
patents. Reflecting that he might wish some time to build such an 
engine, Ford decided to protect himself by recovering an old slide- 
valet that, as a humble mechanic, he put in a Westinghouse steam 
engine. He actually recalled that the engine had been No. 345 and 
had been shipped to McKean County, Pa. A searcher found the 
battered engine; found an old bill of sale which proved that it was 
No. 345; and found the name-plate, which was being used on a stove- 
grate. Brought to Dearborn, the engine was triumphantly restored to 
the condition in which Ford had known it. 

His technological genius was one aspect of a mind peculiar for its 
intuitive nature. Ford hit upon truths (and errors) by divination, not 
ratiocination. His aides credited him with what Dean Marquis called 
a ''supernormal perceptive faculty" and W. J. Cameron ''some gadgets 
in his head that the rest of us didn't have." Marquis termed him "a 
dreamer," adding that he had a different view from other men of 
what was possible and impossible. "I suppose the reason is that men 
who dream walk by faith, and faith laughs at mountains." As Ford 
himself told Fred L. Black, he worked partly by hunches. Even his 
understanding of his lieutenants was largely intuitive. 

Obviously, if intuition moved some mountains, it collided disas- 
trously with certain more massive ranges. Reliance on intuition was 
one reason why Ford was so amazingly unpredictable; men never 
knew which of a half-dozen Fords they were going to meet. It was 
also one reason for the crippling isolation of his mind, for a brain that 
cannot be reasoned with is a brain that cannot be penetrated. Down 
to 1914 Ford was open to the counsel of men who had a right to 
insist on being heard: his partners Alex Malcomson and John S. Gray, 
his indispensable business manager James Couzens, the brilliant de- 
signer Harold Wills, and others. Later, with the amazing expansion 
of the business, the rise of employees to six figures, his achievement 
of autocratic power by the ousting of all his partners, and increasing 
age, Henry Ford placed himself beyond advice. His mental isolation 
"is about as perfect as he can make it," wrote Marquis as early as 

32 Henry Foid 

1923. Charles E. Sorensen, who ought to know, beheves that Ford 
had only two lifelong friends: Sorensen himself, and the strong head 
of his British company, Percival L. D. Perry. 

His complex, inconsistent, intuitive mind has naturally lent itself 
to a Jekyll and Hyde concept of two (or more) Fords dwelling in the 
same body; but we may repeat that these efforts at pattern-making 
are delusive. One clue, however, does explain much in the Dearborn 
wizard. The dreamer, the man of intuitive mind, is usually an artist; 
and many puzzling vagaries, many contradictions, even many repug- 
nant acts in Ford become comprehensible if we view him as essentially 
a man of artistic temperament. His detachment, his arch, wry humor, 
his constant self-projection into the spotlight (though all his intimates 
call him essentially modest), his ability to lift himself above those 
business minutiae which absorbed most industrialists, his readiness to 
do some terrible things with as little seeming consciousness of their 
quality as Byron or Swift showed in their misdeeds, all suggest an 
artistic bent. The Model T was homely awkwardness itself but it had 
artistic elements. Highland Park was the most artistic factory, in 
architecture, shining cleanliness, and harmonic arrangement, built in 
America in its day. The painter Charles Sheeler caught the beauty of 
the River Rouge plant. And what of the aesthetic element in the old 
dances, old folksongs, old buildings, and old machines Ford loved so 

Above all, he had the artist's desire to remake the world after 
his own pattern. His gospel of abundant work, high wages, and low 
prices; his plans for decentralizing industry to combine it with rural 
life and rural virtues; his enthusiastic forays into ''better" agriculture, 
''better" education, "better" recreation; his warm promotion from 
1914-20 of the welfare work of his "sociological department"— what 
else were these but the artist's effort to impose his own vision on life? 
He would remold American society and the American economy to fit 
his vision, himself the potter at the whirling wheel. 

If there was a Jekyll and Hyde element in the man, it lay in the 
complex enmity between Ford the artist and Ford the untutored 
countryman whose parents had been Michigan pioneers, and whose 
own formal education was limited to a few years in a very common 
school. This conflict twisted the whole skein of his character. An artist 
needs a cultivated background: Henry Ford's background was that of 
Anglo-Irish tenant farmers, and of Springwells Township lately 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 33 

wrested from the forest. Though from his homely early environment 
he drew many advantages, its limitations always fettered him. 

He always remained a countryman in his plain way of living, for 
despite Keith Sward's statements, it was plain. When his fortune first 
grew, he said plaintively that the ehief difference in his way of life was 
that ''Mrs. Ford no longer does the cooking" — and he preferred her 
cookery. He refused a butler, for he wanted no man behind his chair at 
dinner ''while I am taking the potatoes' jackets off." His puritanic 
condemnation of smoking, drinking and marital irregularities con- 
formed to the principles described in Thorstein Veblen's essay The 
Country Town. He rejected the eminent Delancey Nicoll as attorney 
in the Sapiro case because, when the New York lawyer came to Dear- 
born, Ford saw him chain-smoking cigarettes. "Fm for Mr. Coolidge if 
he will enforce the Prohibition laws," he said in 1923. He was a 
countryman also in his devotion to work as a virtue in itself. His cure 
for nearly all ills was more work. 

True to the frontiersman's instinct, he consistently preferred trial 
and error to precise planning. Contemptuous of elaborate record- 
keeping, he once shocked Perry by making a bonfire of forms used to 
keep track of spare parts. Hostile to meticulous organization, he ran 
even the huge Highland Park plant without formal titles or adminis- 
trative grades. He long derided careful cost accounting. In this, thinks 
one surviving executive, H. L. Moekle, he was right. Success in the 
automotive industry at first depended not on computation of costs to 
the third decimal point in Rockefeller's fashion, but on courageous 
innovations in design and engineering and on the acceptability of 
models and prices to the public. Ford stayed in the field of bold ex- 
periment — cost accounting might have hampered him. He of course 
stuck to Model T too long, but meanwhile he was experimenting with 
tractors, a tri-motored airplane, a weekly journal, a railroad, and a 
dozen other matters. 

He had also the frontiersman's intense hatred of monopoly and 
special privilege. To be sure, he long enjoyed a practical monopoly of 
the low-priced car, but he could say that he achieved it without favor 
and without warring on any competitor. His dislike of patents, his 
earnest counsel to George Holley to take out no patent on his carbu- 
retor, his course in throwing open to public view and general use Ford 
machines and methods, his determined battle against George Selden, 
all harmonized with the frontier attitude. He extended the principle 

34 Henry Ford 

beyond automotive patents. His early broadcasting station WWI 
carried on research, worked out (so associates say) the first directional 
airplane controls, and gained a patent — which he shared with all. Once 
his purchaser, Fred Diehl, was offered spark plugs free for River Rouge 
production if the supplier were allowed to sell all replacements to 
dealers. ''Mr. Ford himself turned that down,'' reports a lieutenant. 
*'He said he didn't want anything from anybody for nothing." A true 
countryman's speech; for a scheme that would have meant monopoly 
supply was abhorrent to Henry Ford. 

Much more might be said on the pleasanter inheritances from the 
rural environment — on his rather appealing inarticulateness which 
kept him from making public speeches (the longest ever recorded was 
28 words) : on his dislike of class lines, which was one of several rea- 
sons for his aversion from Grosse Fointe society; on the rugged com- 
radeship with fellow workers which he showed in his early career, 
but unhappily lost; on his warm love of nature, and the feeling for 
wild life which made him build shelters for rabbits, grow corn for 
crows, and keep warm water available all winter in the hope of retain- 
ing migratory songbirds in the North. One of the most important parts 
of his countryman's heritage was his stubborn originality of thought — 
when he did think. Neither from books nor men did he take ideas 
secondhand; he hammered them out for himself, usually on walks in 
field and woods. Often they were immature. Just sometimes, between 
intuition and lonely thinking, he seized a concept which startled men 
with its novel glint of truth. 

Meanwhile, what penalties his early environment, and his invin- 
cible ignorance in many areas, laid upon him! Like other untutored 
men, he had a deep suspicion of the uncomprehended, a strong incli- 
nation to prejudice, and a susceptibility to bad counsel. Some thought 
his antagonism to Wall Street traceable to a memory of Populist 
speeches, others to his anxieties in the depression of 1921; but surely 
three-fourths of it was simple distrust of what he did not understand. 
It is significant that his suspiciousness, hardly visible in his first years 
of success, grew marked when he came under fire. 'Tord has the idea 
that he is persecuted," a writer in the Foium accurately stated in 1919. 
He thought that some journals had begun to ''hound" him when he 
announced the $5 day, and others when he battled for peace and the 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 35 

''A good part of the American press, not all, is not free/' he told 
reporters. It lay, he thought, under various controls, it was warped by 
sensationalism. 'They misquoted me, distorted what I said, made up 
lies." The gibing, malicious attitude of part of the press toward the 
Peace Ship, the aspersions of his motives in lifting wages from $2.25 
to $5, the mean attacks on Edsel as an alleged draftdodger, and the 
storm of ridicule accompanying the Chicago Tribune trial and the 
senatorial campaign, were indeed outrageous. Since Ford was a sensi- 
tive man, they had a perceptible effect in hardening his temper and 
converting his early idealism into cynicism. Had he possessed more 
education, poise, and perspective, he would not only have avoided 
some of the occasions for ridicule; he would have met ridicule with a 
heavier armor. 

Out of his sense of needing an agency for defense and for stating 
his ideas came the Dearborn Independent. Out of his ignorance, sensi- 
tiveness, and suspiciousness came the lamentable anti-Semitic cam- 
paign of that weekly, for which he apologized only after vast harm 
had been done. In this unhappy crusade he had collaborators. The 
shrewd F. G. Pipp, who resigned as editor rather than share in it, 
made a brutally frank statement to Cameron: 'Tou are furnishing 
the brains. Ford the money, and E. G. Liebold the prejudices." 
Cameron and Liebold furnished some of the methods, too, but as 
Liebold says, ''As long as Mr. Ford wanted it done, it was done." His 
was the responsibility. That he had no deep-seated race prejudices, but 
really believed in a fictitious bogy called the International Jew, does 
not palliate his offense. We can only say that this, like the short- 
sighted harshness which he showed toward labor organizations, was 
the abortion of an uninformed mind and uncultivated spirit. 

Some aspects of the man, defying any efforts to fix a pattern, re- 
main — as in such other contradictory personages as Edwin M. Stanton 
or Woodrow Wilson — quite inexplicable. Highly diffident in some 
ways, he had an irrepressible desire to be oracular about topics of 
which he knew nothing. Kindly in most personal relations, he never- 
theless countenanced such cruel treatment of subordinates as the 
smashing of their desks in token of discharge. At times he indulged a 
good humored liking for horseplay — "he was a proper Puck," as Lord 
Perry expressed it; at other times he was sternly unapproachable. 
Sharply practical, he yet cherished some curious superstitions. A 
churchgoing Episcopalian, he leaned strongly to an unorthodox belief 

36 Henry Ford 

in metempsychosis. There was always something in him of an urchin, 
a wry, cross-grained, brilhant adolescent; and like an energetic urchin, 
he was so kinetic that only a motion picture could have caught his 
multifarious activities and swiftly changing moods. 

Yet in this fascinating personality, with its bright lights, dark 
shadows, and intermediate chiawscuw traits, we come back always to 
the image of the artist. John Reed, interviewing him in 1916, thought 
he looked like an artist, with ''thin, long, sure hands, incessantly mov- 
ing"; ''the mouth and nose of a simple-minded saint''; "a lofty fore- 
head''; "the lower part of his face extraordinarily serene and naive, the 
upper part immensely alive and keen." His swiftness, his agility, his 
intense interest in everything he observed, contributed to the impres- 
sion of an artistic temperament. Much that is otherwise puzzling be- 
comes comprehensible if we think of him as an artist, struggling, de- 
spite many limitations and handicaps, to remake his world a little 
nearer to the heart's desire. He wanted to abolish war ("a habit, and a 
filthy habit," he said) from his world, and hence the great gesture of 
the Peace Ship. He wanted to exclude drink, class divisions, idleness 
and disorder. He wanted to get rid of money as anything but a part 
of the mechanism of production: "part of the assembly line," or "the 
connecting rod." 

Perhaps his poignant failure lay in his relationship to his son, to 
whom he gave both intense devotion and total incomprehension. 
Edsel was a man of the finest qualities of character and mind, up- 
right, idealistic, public-spirited, and hard-working. He was highly phil- 
anthropic. In the factory he got on well with other executives, many of 
whom felt a warm aflfection for him. In the world at large, as old 
associates testify, he had a broader vision than his father. Some of 
Henry Ford's acts, such as the anti-Jewish campaign, grieved Edsel 
greatly, though he was too loyal to speak out publicly. Yet the father, 
while justly proud of him, committed a fundamental error in their 
relationship. "He tried to make Edsel in his own image," says Mr. 
Sorensen. In the process he did incidental injustice to some men like 
Clarence W. Avery who, coming close to Edsel, aroused his jealousy. 
Of course he failed in his effort, with anguish to both himself and the 
son. But the attempt was again, in part, an expression of the artist's 
desire to make the world over to suit his own vision. 

As the years pass and as we gain perspective, the absurd blunders 
and shabby misdeeds in Henry Ford's record will arouse less interest. 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 37 

His social primitivism will seem more a part of the general ignorance 
and gullibility of our adolescent American civilization. His great 
achievement, in the direct line of Watt and Stephenson, Eli Whitney 
and Cyrus McCormick, yet in some ways transcending theirs, will 
loom up as the really significant fact of his career. By his labors in 
bringing mass production to birth, by his gospel of high production, 
low prices, and large consumption, he became the key figure in a far- 
reaching revolution. This fumbling artist actually did remold the 
world according to his vision. Talking with Edsel one day, he said of 
his great company: ''Well, we'll build this as well as we know how, 
and if we don't use it, somebody will use it. Anything that is good 
enough will be used.'' Of few of the industrial path-hewers of his time 
can it be said that they produced so much that is permanently and 
profitably usable. 



"J despise American hig business with its managerial 
complex. Who pays the fancy salaries, the inflated expense 
accounts, the Umousines, and the fantastic great ofhce build- 
ings? Why, it's the common shareholdeis who pay.'' ''Un- 
deihngs will always let you down in a crisis; that's why I 
woik so hard." With these oi like words, Jean Paul Getty 
always brings in a gusher oi controversy. Mr. Getty is familiar 
with gushers. It was some ten billion barrels oi oil that 
brought him to the attention oi Fortune, which promptly 
dubbed him the country's richest man. That witty social 
commentator, Cleveland Amory, has pointed out that the 
one field which Mr. Getty never drilled is himseli. He is not 
known tor outstanding insight into the mechanisms oi his 
own character nor, as a matter oi fact, for any deep under- 
standing oi the American business scene. He is a maverick 
oi the business world, riding a high horse oi nonconiormity 
over the steeplechases oi American enterprise. He is the non- 
management man oi our management Hie. 

Mr. Getty has been a vocal opponent oi the specific mys- 
tique oi coniormity that he says has sapped the dynamic 
individualism oi business Hie today. Not in the august pages 
oi the Harvard Business Review, but in the well-thumbed 
pages oi Playboy, he said that such a mystique ''has produced 
the liieless, cardboard cut-out figure oi the organization man 

*From: The Multimillionaiies (New York: The Macmillan 
Company) 1961. 


40 Jean Paul Getty 

who tries vainly to hide his fears, Jack of confidence and 
incompetence between the styUzed fagades of conformity . . . . 
Conformists are not born." 

/. Paul Getty was not born a conformist, and he was also 
born with the confident awareness that his father had once 
purchased for $500 the lease on 1,100 acres in Indian territory 
and founded an oil company. 

Mr. Getty is an excellent example, however, of the imagi- 
native personality who can take enormous risks and having 
taken them calculated carefully just what those risks meant, 
; He is, just as were Morgan and Ford, a child of his age, and 

he has that particular gift of seizing on what the age has to 
offer to him. Goronwy Rees, the British journalist, who 
portrays him in the following profile points out that Getty is 
; less typical of the United States and more typical of the 
multimillionaires' pattern of Europe. Nonetheless, in his Sut- 
ton Place palace, which he purchased for $1,400,000, the 
drafts of Twentieth Century civilization blow even more 
acutely than through the split level home of management 
man. Getty, we presume, has less trouble with his mortgage 

Management Man: Who He Is 2nd Who He Isn't 41 


n November, 1957, the magazine Fortune published an 
article by Richard A. Smith, a report on America's rich- 
est men, and at the head of it, above Mr. H. L. Hunt of Dallas, Mr. 
Arthur V. Davis of Miami, and a varied list of Rockefellers, Mellons, 
and Fords, the name of Mr. Jean Paul Getty, of the Tidewater Oil 
Company, who was stated to have a personal fortune of between 
$700,000,000 and $1,000,000,000. For an Englishman who read this 
announcement, there was a certain charm in the comment by Mr. 
Ben Tobin that he reckoned H. L. Flint of Texas was richer. 

Anyone who, like the great majority of people, then came across 
the name of Getty for the first time might have been excused for 
thinking he was one of those legendary American heroes who, starting 
from poverty and obscurity, tread in the world of business the same 
kind of paths which in politics lead Presidents from log cabins to 
White Houses. The truth is that in the America of today such careers 
are, if not wholly a matter of myth, at least a good deal rarer than one 
might suppose; the barefoot boys who tread the stony road from rags 
to riches belong to what is rapidly becoming an almost extinct Ameri- 
can species, like the buffalo, and soon America will have to create 
reservations for them if the type is to be preserved at all. 

To this truth Mr. Getty is no exception, and he is in fact the 
only son of an extremely able and successful pioneer of the American 
oil industry who really did start from poverty and at his death left 
a fortune of $15,000,000, though no more of it than $500,000 to his 
son. If this seems only a small share of so large a fortune, it may per- 
haps for once be truthfully said that in the case of Paul Getty the 
father left the son several things more valuable than money, including 
an education and training that helped the son to make even more 
money than the father. 

No one is more appreciative of this than Mr. Getty himself, and 
no one who hears him speak about his father could doubt his deeply 
felt and considered admiration for him. He likes to refer to him in 
conversation, cites him as an example when he wants to make a point, 
quotes sayings and maxims of his that seem to have the stamp of an 
old-fashioned shrewdness. A characteristic example is, ''No man's 

42 Jean Paul Getty 

opinions are better than his information/' and when Mr. Getty quotes 
it one has the feehng that he is speaking out of the truth of his own 
experience, which does not inchne him to accept expert opinions 
based on information less good than his own, which is ver)^ good. And 
he says that he hkes to think that he may have inherited from his 
father one of his most marked characteristics, which is the skill to 
distinguish the possible from the impossible, and goes on to say that 
for lack of it many able and remarkable men, like Napoleon or Musso- 
lini, have found that success has turned into failure. But perhaps the 
best evidence of Mr. Getty's admiration for his father is to be found 
in his own book History oi the Oil Business of George Franklin and 
J. Paul Getty, 1903-39. Unlike most works of piety, this is an admir- 
ably documented account of the growth and development of a large 
independent enterprise, of a kind which is of the greatest value and 
interest to an economic historian, and at the same time, by implica- 
tion, it gives a fascinating insight into the personalities involved in it, 
including Mr. Getty himself. It is the kind of book a novelist like 
Theodore Dreiser, with his interest in the industrial growth of the 
United States, would have found absorbing; but it would have been 
no less interesting to Henry James. One sentence from it that de- 
scribes the kind of qualities Mr. Getty admires is worth quoting: 
''Great wealth is due to imagination, ability, and a successful risking of 
capital.'' If one were to say that the words ''successful risking" really 
beg the question, Mr. Getty might reply with another quotation: 
"There are one hundred men seeking Security to one able man who is 
willing to risk his fortune." 

Paul Getty's father, George Franklin Getty, was a Minneapolis 
lawyer who entered the oil business in 1903, when a client's interests 
took him to Oklahoma, at a time when oil was being found there; for 
$500 he bought the lease of 1,100 acres in Indian Territor}^, founded 
the Minnehoma Oil Company to finance drilling operations, and by 
the end of the year was producing 100 barrels a day. This was at a 
moment when, as well as the oil industry, the automobile industry was 
beginning to be born; the first motorcars were to be seen in the streets, 
though it was still thought that gas-driven engines would soon be dis- 
placed by the electrically powered machines on which Edison was still 
working. Thus in his lifetime Paul Getty has seen the birth of two of 
America's great industries, oil and motorcars, which have grown up 
as it were hand in hand; he was to enter one of them, oil, which has 

Manapement Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 43 

probably been the source of the greatest personal fortunes in the 
United States. When I asked Mr. Getty to what factors he principally 
attributed his success in building up his own great fortune, he replied 
with his usual detachment and objectivity that it was due to his luck 
in being born at precisely the time when he was and to the oppor- 
tunity, given to him by his father, of entering the oil industry pre- 
cisely when he did. But though he is aware of his own luck in entering 
the oil business when he did, he does not think that even today the 
moment has passed for people of abilities similar to his own to repeat 
his success. '1 think," he says, ''there are still fortunes to be made 
in oil.'' 

Between 1903 and 1914 George Getty continued to buy and sell 
oil leases and to operate them with great success, though in its early 
days his Minnehoma Company had considerable difficulties to over- 
come; in 1914, on the eve of World War I, his son, having completed 
a world tour on the $250 a month allowed him by his father, arrived 
at Tulsa, Oklahoma, to enter the same business for himself. 

He was then a young man of twenty-two, who had received an 
unusually broad and varied education, which had not only equipped 
him for practical success in business but had also laid the foundation 
of a permanent interest in the arts and humanities. It is said that at 
school he was known as ''Dictionary" Getty because of his fondness 
for books; at the University of California he studied geology and eco- 
nomics, and at Oxford, in 1912-1913, he took a diploma in economics 
and political science; but at the same time he had begun to acquire, 
on his travels with his parents and by himself, a knowledge of Euro- 
pean art and antiquities that has been one of the permanent and 
serious interests of his life. A diary kept by him on a visit to Europe 
shows that peculiar combination of hardheadedness, a desire for pre- 
cise and accurate information, and natural sensibility which might 
make a great collector or connoisseur of the arts. There is something 
in Mr. Getty which puts one in mind of the American millionaire Mr. 
Verver in Henry James's The Golden Bowl, though even Mr. Getty's 
greatest admirers would not attribute to him the peculiar sweetness of 
character that belonged to Mr. Verver. 

It is among the legends that surround the youth of builders of 
great fortunes that the young Getty celebrated his arrival in Tulsa 
by declaring that he would stay there until he had made a million 
dollars. Whether this is true or not, he did not have to stay long. With 

H Jean Paul Getty 

his father's backing, and with equal success, he went into the same 
business of buying and seUing oil leases; he and his father operated as 
partners and split the profits in a proportion of 30 per cent to 70 per 
cent. This was at a time when World War I was stimulating an un- 
precedented growth of American industry, and especially an enor- 
mous increase in the demand for oil; in his first year of operations Mr. 
Getty is said to have made $40,000 and by 1916 to have made $1,000,- 
000. It is tempting to ascribe his success, at so early an age, to the pre- 
cocious development in the young Getty of two qualities that seem to 
have characterized him throughout his career: a capacity for taking 
large risks combined with an unusually thorough and precise apprecia- 
tion of what those risks are, as if fortune only attends on those who 
both take great chances and calculate them very meticulously. Yet it is 
interesting that Mr. Getty himself once again emphasizes the op- 
portunity offered by the particular historical situation in which he 
found himself. Talking of his career as a whole, he points out that, 
apart from the highly favorable conditions under which the oil in- 
dustry has developed during his lifetime, his own most rapid advances 
and the greatest expansion in his own business have been made during 
those periods of war or economic depression that for most people have 
been times of the greatest trouble and distress. If such ideas were not 
so entirely alien to his mind, one might have said that Mr. Getty was 
a natural Marxist in his calm acceptance of the view that historical 
factors rather than personal qualities are what determine a man's suc- 
cess or failure in life. 

In such a view of one's own career there is a certain coldblooded 
objectivity that seems to exclude compassion or sympathy but is ex- 
tremely impressive, even though not many people are likely to find 
it very attractive. Mr. Getty's view of the world is strangely like that 
of the great Bishop Butler: 'Things are as they are and their conse- 
quences will be what they will be." But perhaps even so high a degree 
of objectivity does not altogether exclude vanity, or, if not vanity, at 
least a feeling that those whose greatest successes come out of the 
world's distress still require remarkable abilities if they are not to miss 
the opportunities history offers. Mr. Getty likes to point out that the 
great men of history have achieved fame only as the result of great 
crises and upheavals; that Napoleon, Cromwell, Caesar, born thirty 
years earlier or later, would all have been condemned to a life of ob- 
scurity. He thinks Augustus was less able than Caesar, but achieved 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 45 

more because the particular organizational abilities he did have did 
not require a time of trouble in order to assert themselves. 

In discussing such historical figures Mr. Getty shows a depth and 
range of knowledge one does not expect in millionaires. One feels that 
he is genuinely interested in the past, not so much because he wishes 
to compare himself with its great men, but because he has an honest 
and sincere desire to find in history some kind of explanation for his 
own career. And so somehow one is not surprised or offended when he 
points out that, just as Napoleon profited by the French, and Crom- 
well by the English, revolution, so he himself profited by World War 
I, and then by the great economic depression, and then later again by 
World War II, so that one hardly knows whether from the point of 
view of Getty Oil those otherwise disastrous events were to be wel- 
comed or deplored. Mr. Getty, one feels, would say that they were 
neither; they simply created the opportunities for the success of his 

Certainly by the end of World War I Mr. Getty was already a 
very rich man. In 1916 he had left Tulsa to join his father, who had 
moved to Los Angeles, and there father and son continued to operate 
in a curious kind of partnership in which neither wholly surrendered 
nor wholly retained his independence of the other. In 1923 Mr. Getty 
married his first wife, in 1926 his second, and in the next thirteen 
years contracted three further marriages, none of which lasted for 
more than six years. Indeed, if permanence is any sign of success in 
marriage, Mr. Getty's spectacular career as a businessman has been 
matched only by his equally spectacular failure as a husband, and he 
himself, as one who admires and respects success, is reported to have 
deplored his repeated failures to achieve it in marriage. It has been 
stated also, without very good authority, that the reason George Getty 
left his son only $500,000 out of his total fortune of $15,000,000 when 
he died in 1930 was that the father was shocked by his son's marital 
affairs. One finds this difficult to believe, partly because of the ex- 
tremely close, if highly commercial, relationship that had existed be- 
tween Paul Getty and his father, and also because in 1928 George 
Getty had sold to his son, for $1,000,000, a one-third interest in 
George F. Getty, Inc., which controlled all his oil properties. It seems 
more likely that if George Getty left nearly all his money to his widow, 
it was because his son hardly needed it, except in so far as it was re- 
quired for a further expansion of George F. Getty, Inc. 

46 Jean Paul Getty 

For 1930 had brought another of those times of trouble which to 
Paul Getty meant opportunity. Mr. Getty says that during the depres- 
sion the advice of every financial expert was to maintain the highest 
possible degree of liquidity. ''On the contrary/' says Mr. Getty, '1 
spent all the cash I could lay my hands on." The death of his father 
had left him, so far as George F. Getty, Inc., was concerned, in a some- 
what difficult position. The controlling interest in the company was 
held by his mother, who by age and temperament was conservative, 
and averse to undertaking the risks of further expansion; she was con- 
firmed in her views by advisers who recommended that she turn her 
holdings into stocks that would provide her with an income sufficient 
to maintain her in the station to which George Getty had called her. 
His mother's views, and her advisers', were in every way the opposite 
of those of Paul Getty, who saw in the depression the opportunity to 
expand and enlarge the Getty interests. 

George F. Getty, Inc., was essentially an oil-producing company, 
with no refining or marketing facilities of its own, and therefore very 
much at the mercy of the vicissitudes of the market. ''What I was 
looking for," says Paul Getty, in the history of the Getty oil business, 
"was a company greatly in need of crude oil and whose stock was sell- 
ing at a low price." He found such a company in Tidewater Associated 
Oil Gompany, which was completely complementary to George F. 
Getty, Inc., in that it produced no oil of its own but had a large re- 
fining and marketing business; and in 1932 its stock, which had been 
as high as $20.00 a share, could be picked up for $2.50. "My stock- 
buying system is fairly simple," says Mr. Getty. "I buy when other 
people are selling. I have always bought stocks at bargain prices." Act- 
ing on these elementary principles, which have a kind of bizarre com- 
mon sense, Mr. Getty between 1932 and 1934 put more than $8,000,- 
000 of his own money into Tidewater stock, at prices varying between 
$2.00 and $3.00 a share. Later, prices rose, he continued to buy, but 
never paid more than $10.00. 

But Mr. Getty was not interested merely in acquiring stock in a 
company whose interests were complementary to George F. Getty, 
Inc., and could profitably cooperate with it. His object was to secure 
control of Tidewater; almost twenty years passed before he acquired a 
majority holding. When I said that the struggle to acquire Tidewater 
must have been a difficult one, he replied with the kind of simplicity 
that would be platitudinous if it did not bear the marks of long and 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 47 

hard experience: ''One must know how to wait." The steps in his 
progress toward controlhng Tidewater were in fact difficult and com- 
phcated. After two years of conflict with his mother (''She thought 
her son too aggressive'' ) , he finally secured control of George F. Getty, 
Inc., when his mother at least agreed to sell him her controlling in- 
terest; on January 24, 1934, she "rather thankfully resigned as a 
director of George F. Getty, Inc.," leaving her son in full control. By 
then he had also acquired control of Pacific Western Oil Company, 
by buying 520,000 of its 1,000,000 issued shares, and was able to use 
the assets of both companies in his struggle to acquire Tidewater. 

A large part of the stock was held by Mission Corporation, which 
owned 1,128,123 Tidewater shares, and also 557,557 shares in the 
Skelly Oil Company. Mission Corporation had been formed by the 
president of Tidewater Oil for the specific purpose of preventing the 
shares it controlled from falling into Getty's hands; they were dis- 
tributed as a stock bonus to Standard Oil stockholders, who owned 
Skelly Oil. Yet despite the stubborn opposition of William Hum- 
phrey, the president of Tidewater, by 1939 Getty had secured control 
of Mission Corporation, largely as a result of purchasing a block of 
200,000 shares offered to him by John D. Rockefeller at $10 a share. 
Together with his other shares in Tidewater, he now held 22.7 per 
cent of its stock; he continued to buy, and by the end of 1937 was in 
effective control of the company. Nevertheless, he continued to buy 
its shares until he acquired a majority holding of 50.1 per cent, which 
he succeeded in achieving by 1950. The cost of his investment in the 
twenty years he spent in acquiring control of Tidewater was between 
$80,000,000 and $90,000,000. 

Thus by 1939 Getty was in effective control of George F. Getty, 
Inc., and Pacific Western Oil, which were oil-producing companies 
and had been merged to form Getty Oil; and through Mission Corpo- 
ration he controlled Tidewater Oil and Skelly Oil, which provided 
him with marketing and refining facilities, as well as producing capac- 
ity. Together, they formed an integrated group of companies con- 
trolling its own supplies of oil from the source to the consumer. 

In that year he felt sufficiently satisfied with his progress to take 
time off for the art-collecting tour in Europe that is described in his 
book Collectoi's Choice. During the war he volunteered for duty as a 
naval officer but was asked to take over the direction of Spartan Air- 
craft Corporation; after the war he bought it and converted it to the 

48 Jean Paul Getty 

production of trailer caravans, and by that time he had also added to 
his other interests the Getty Realty Corporation which owns the 
Hotel Pierre in New York. Yet despite this very large expansion in 
the already prosperous business he had taken over from his parents, 
it was in fact not until after the war that the Getty oil business took 
its great step forward, by extending its operations from North America 
to the Middle East. 

Between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait lies the so-called Neutral 
Zone, a tract of oil-bearing desert 2,500 miles long, over which each 
country possesses equal rights. On one half of the territory the Ameri- 
can Independent Oil Company has a sixty-year concession from Ku- 
wait. In 1949 Mr. Getty secured a similar concession from Saudi 
Arabia for the southern part of the territory. Although no oil had as 
yet been found there, he offered $9,500,000 in cash and a minimum 
royalty of $1,000,000 a year for the concession, whether oil was found 
or not. These sums were to be offset against a royalty of $0.55 a barrel 
and 35 per cent of the company's profits if and when oil was eventually 

In purchasing the concession Mr. Getty incurred a very high 
degree of risk, even though he had protected himself by securing the 
best possible information about the oil-bearing potentialities of the 
area. It is a sign of his extremely detached and impersonal attitude 
toward the problems of his business that, having secured the best in- 
formation, he should have bought the concession ''off the map," with- 
out traveling to visit the territory himself. In fact the concession 
brought no return whatever for four years, and in that period Mr. 
Getty had spent $30,000,000 without finding oil in commercial quan- 
tities; it was a very expensive gamble, but it more than paid off when 
in May, 1953, a rich strike of oil was made at Wafra and also a rich 
vein of eocene, which is easy to produce, and suitable for fuel oil. The 
output of his new field has made him the largest independent oil pro- 
ducer in the Middle East and one of the richest men in the world; to 
serve its needs he has built the most modern oil refinery in existence 
and has entered on a large program of tanker construction to carry his 
own oil. Two years ago the program provided for new construction that 
would give Mr. Getty a total of well over 1,000,000 tons dead weight 
of tanker capacity. Such a program might well seem superfluous at a 
time when there is a world surplus of tanker capacity that is expected 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 49 

to continue for several years, but Mr. Getty appears to have no doubts 
that in the long run it will justify itself. 

The discovery of the Wafra field has produced a significant shift 
in the center of Mr. Getty's interests from the United States to the 
Middle East and to Europe, and this has been emphasized by the 
restrictions placed by the United States Government on the import 
of oil into the United States, so that markets have to be found else- 
where for the production from his new wells. Mr. Getty has not been 
back to the United States for seven years, though all four of his sons 
are now employed in his oil business there; his own time is spent be- 
tween London, Paris, and the Middle East. 

His personal fortune is today estimated at between $840,000,000 
and $1,120,000,000, and the annual profits of his oil business, apart 
from his other interests, at $84,000,000. The bulk of his great fortune 
comes from his 81 per cent holding in Getty Oil, which through its 
subsidaries. Mission Development Company and Mission Corpora- 
tion, controls Tidewater Oil Company and Skelly Oil Company. 
Mission Development Company is an investment company that holds 
about 48 per cent of the common stock of Tidewater Oil; Mission 
Corporation is both a holding and an operating company that owns 
about 3.5 per cent of the shares of Tidewater Oil and nearly 60 per 
cent of the shares of Skelly Oil. Tidewater Oil, with its subsidiary com- 
panies, constitutes a completely integrated unit in the oil industry; it 
is engaged in the production, refining, transportation, and marketing 
of crude petroleum and its products, operates mainly in the United 
States and Canada, but also in Turkey, Guatemala, Pakistan, and 
Paraguay, and produces about 40,000,000 barrels of crude oil a year 
and processes about 70,000,000 barrels in its own refineries. Skelly Oil 
is also an operating company engaged in all branches of the oil in- 
dustry, primarily in the Midwest, Southwest, and South of the United 
States; it produces about 25,000,000 barrels of crude oil a year and 
refines about 18,000,000 barrels. 

Tidewater and Skelly Oil are Mr. Getty's two main operating 
companies in the United States; Getty Oil itself operates Mr. Getty's 
concession in the Neutral Zone, where production has now risen to 
over 16,000,000 barrels a year and is expected to rise further. In addi- 
tion to Mr. Getty's empire of oil, Getty Oil also controls Spartan Air- 
craft Corporation, which owns Minnehoma Insurance Company and 
Minnehoma Financial Company; Spartan Cafeteria Corporation; 

so Jean Paul Getty 

Getty Realty Corporation, which owns important real-estate proper- 
ties in New York, including the Hotel Pierre; and Pacific Western 
Realty Company, which owns the Getty Building at Sixty-first Street 
and Madison Avenue, New York. Among Getty Oil's other properties 
one might list the Pierre Marques hotel at Acapulco, Mexico, and a re- 
finery at Gaeta, near Naples, which processes 40,000 barrels a day. 

But great as Mr. Getty's fortune is, its size alone is not perhaps 
a matter for particular surprise. Oil has always been the largest source 
of the greatest American fortunes, and Mr. Getty himself has been 
quoted as saying: ''When one is rich, it doesn't specially matter to be 
just that bit richer than anyone else." What is a matter of surprise, 
however, is that in an era of greater and greater industrial concentra- 
tion, and of a growing divorce of ownership from management, Mr. 
Getty's riches go together with the completely independent control, 
direction, and ownership of the companies from which it is derived. 
It is equally remarkable, in an age when the surest way to personal 
wealth is usually considered to be the successful floating of stock, that 
Mr. Getty has never sold a share to the public. ''I like to sleep at 
night," he says; '1 shouldn't like to think I owed people so much 
money." Such an attitude is unusual in the owner and controller of a 
great independent enterprise, and indeed it is something of a puzzle 
how Mr. Getty could throughout his life have financed his operations 
out of his own resources, particularly when he has never hesitated to 
risk them, when necessary, to the utmost possible limit; undoubtedly, 
however, he has been helped because the companies of which he has 
successively gained control have been in possession of large cash re- 
sources that he has used at each stage for the further expansion of his 

What seems certain, however, is that Mr. Getty is less interested 
in the amount of his wealth than in the power it gives, and especially 
in continually increasing the scope of his operations. One might sup- 
pose, indeed, that to some people this might be an absorbing and 
exclusive passion, but Mr. Getty is a highly original person, of refresh- 
ingly frank views, so that it was not surprising to be told by him that 
he did not regard business as a particularly interesting occupation. 
When I asked why, then, he had devoted most of his life and his very 
remarkable abilities to it, he replied with one of his rare, slightly 
wolfish smiles, that have a certain wintry charm of their own: ''Well, 
oil's a good business," and it was clear that by this he did not simply 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 51 

mean that it was a profitable one, though certainly this would not be 
excluded from what he meant by ''good/' But he would say that it 
was worth while, and that he himself had been lucky, to have been 
associated in the growth of a young industry, which had become the 
greatest source of power in modern industry, and in his opinion would 
continue to supply 75 per cent of the world's industrial energy in the 
future. One might almost detect a note of emotion in his voice, when 
he pointed out that oil was perhaps the only basic and essential com- 
modity whose price, so far as the raw material was concerned, had not 
varied significantly during the last fifty years. It was almost as if he had 
been proud to be associated with such a remarkable article of com- 

The cool air of detachment with which Mr. Getty discusses him- 
self and his career is very remarkable; it is made attractive by a manner 
compounded of modesty, shyness, and a kind of courtesy that has a 
slightly old-fashioned and very American charm, as of a society in 
which the possession of wealth has been associated with a greater free- 
dom and simplicity of manners than in our own. To a European such 
a manner has a particular charm; and there is charm also, for those 
who are sensible of it, in the evidence Mr. Getty gives in conversation 
of an intensely serious mind, which is widely educated and deeply 
cultivated and has applied itself earnestly to those questions that 
interest him. Among them, in addition to oil, must be included history 
and the arts, and the range of his knowledge about these subjects 
would be surprising in anyone who had not applied himself to them 
professionally. Indeed, the titles of Mr. Getty's three books. History 
of the Oil Business oi George Franklin and J. Paul Getty (1941), 
Europe in the 18th Century (1947), and Collector s Choice, perhaps 
give the best indication one could find of the range of Mr. Getty's in- 
terests and tastes, while the quality of the books themselves show 
that he has studied these subjects more seriously than is common in 
the dilettante or the amateur. 

Collectors Choice, written in collaboration with Miss Ethel Le- 
Vane, is an account of a picture-buying expedition on the Continent 
on the eve of the last war, together with some chapters by Mr. Getty 
illustrating his knowledge of the classical culture of Greece and Rome. 
The book is good enough to have won a word of commendation from 
the great Berenson himself, and perhaps it is not fanciful to find a 
certain resemblance between Mr. Getty and Berenson in that appre- 

S2 Jean Paul Getty 

ciation of values, based on knowledge and cultivation, which made 
one of them the greatest connoisseur of his time and the other the 
richest man in the world. And curiously enough, in the Epilogue to 
the book, Mr. Getty confesses to a frustrated ambition to have been a 
writer in very much the same tones as Berenson himself made pre- 
cisely the same confession. But the book's peculiar interest and value 
lie in the account it gives of the methods by which Mr. Getty has 
built up his admirable art collection, his relations with experts and 
dealers, and his adventures in that curious world of the connoisseur 
in which fine art has become big business; it throws as much light on 
Mr. Getty as on his pictures, his marbles and his beautiful French 
furniture, and one only wishes one had a similar account of his adven- 
tures in that other world of the oil industry in which big business has 
become a form of fine art. 

In collecting works of art, Mr. Getty shows himself to be very 
much the same man as in collecting oil fields or in buying stocks. He 
went into the oil business because it is highly profitable and also 
because it is, in his own words, a ''good" business; he buys pictures 
because they are beautiful and also because they are a good invest- 
ment; sometimes one is almost inclined to wonder whether there is 
not a kind of preordained harmony which ensures that for Mr. Getty 
the concepts of goodness, beauty, and profit shall be interchangeable. 
But both on the evidence of his books and of his taste there is little 
doubt that he has a sensibility to works of art that is both naturally 
acute and developed by study and cultivation. I asked him whether in 
making his collection he followed his own taste; he said that he did, 
then immediately added, ''But I like to get the best information 

The bulk of his collection is kept at his home, which he now 
never visits, at Santa Monica, Los Angeles, of which one wing is open 
to the public and forms part of the Los Angeles County Museum; it 
includes some fine Gainsboroughs, a Rembrandt and a Tintoretto, and 
some fine Roman antiquities. Perhaps his liking for Gainsboroughs is 
partly to be explained by the fact that they, like oil shares when he 
was in the market for them, could be bought relatively cheaply 
compared with the works of those artists who enjoy the particular 
favor of multimillionaires; for in art as in oil Mr. Getty likes to buy 
when other people are selling, and one somehow feels that any work 
of art he buys will always command a higher price than he gave for it. 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 53 

But fine as his pictures are, perhaps the finest of all his possessions 
is his magnificent collection of eighteenth century French furniture 
and French tapestries that are second only to those contained in the 
Wallace Collection in London, and that are certainly the finest in the 
world in private possession. In this collection one may see perhaps a 
reflection not only of his natural taste but also of his liking and 
admiration for France and his particular interest in eighteenth century 
French history. 

To his art collection Mr. Getty has now added a unique example 
of English domestic architecture by his purchase from the Duke of 
Sutherland of Sutton Place, a magnificent Tudor mansion in Surrey, 
which is one of the earliest existing specimens of an unfortified 
English home. When I asked him whether he intended to house any 
of his pictures there, he said that he did not intend to bring any of 
them from America but that he might bring some of those that were 
at present in Europe; and indeed anyone who attended the party, 
given in the summer of this year at a cost estimated at $28,000, 
with which Mr. Getty inaugurated his occupation of Sutton Place, 
might wonder at the treasures that remain to him even after he has 
left the great bulk of them in America, and perhaps one may guess 
that at Sutton Place he may build up a second collection to rival 
his first, which is in Los Angeles. But the lavishness, even ostenta- 
tion, that Mr. Getty showed on the occasion of his party were per- 
haps less characteristic of him than other qualities he showed in 
making Sutton Place ready for the reception of his first guests; a 
builder occupied on the alterations and improvements Mr. Getty has 
made at Sutton Place remarked with a certain sense of wonder and 
almost of trepidation at the microscopic examination to which Mr. 
Getty personally subjected even the minutest detail of the costs of 
the work. 

When I asked Mr. Getty whether he looked forward to living at 
Sutton Place, he replied very simply that he did so because he liked 
living in the country and that he guessed that even in Surrey, only 
twenty miles from London, there might still be some country left. 
He added almost wistfully that his home in the countryside of Los 
Angeles used to be the most beautiful place in the world but that it 
had all been ruined since it had been invaded by the aircraft industry. 

Yet for all the splendor of its opening, and his own almost 
patrician attitude to his possessions, it is not easy to visualize Mr. 

S4 Jean Paul Getty 

Getty in the magnificence of Sutton Place, with all the attendant 
burdens of a large domestic establishment. One cannot help feeling, 
absurdly enough, that in spite of his hundreds of millions the ex- 
pense, the waste of it all might worry him; this remarkable man, 
who to his other attainments adds the ability to speak seven lan- 
guages, including Arabic, and a sound knowledge of Greek and 
Latin, would seem very much more at home in the somewhat make- 
shift arrangements of his very modest suite in the Ritz in London 
or the George V in Paris, among his papers and documents and 
empty cases of Goca-Cola, answering his own telephone, replying 
to his correspondents by hand on the margins of their own letters, 
and living in that kind of somewhat dreary isolation that can most 
easily be secured in a large hotel. 

When I asked him how it was possible to direct a huge enterprise, 
of which he is the sole effective head, under such conditions, he said 
in the deliberate, reflective manner characteristic of him, that some 
people thought that personal contacts were very important in busi- 
ness but that he did not think so. ''After all," he said, '1 suppose that 
if one is an artist, or a dentist who actually has to put his finger in 
the patient's mouth, one has to be physically present to do one's 
work. In my case it isn't necessary. I can do everything that's needed 
from here." Somehow I felt that in the affairs of Getty Oil there 
was not much of the group thinking that has become so fashionable 
in modern business, and I have never met anyone who was less like 
an organization man than Mr. Getty. I felt that for him the efficient 
conduct of business means primarily the application of a formidable 
and realistic intelligence to the best information available; and in 
addition the willingness to back his conclusions with his capital 
even though they may conflict with the opinions of everyone else, 
including experts, who, he says, in the long run always succeed in 
contradicting themselves. When you talk to Mr. Getty, it all seems 
as simple as that. 

Mr. Getty is an original, in his habits, his way of life, and in his 
ideas. He has formed his own opinions for himself, and they are not 
ones that would recommend him to many people, because the world 
seems a rather bleak place when so coldly contemplated. But since 
they really are his own, and owe very little to anyone else, except 
perhaps his father, they give him the attraction of what really is 
individual or, as engineers say, ''one off." 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 5S 

There are no great public acts of charity associated with Mr. 
Getty, as there are with so many other men of great wealth, and he 
carries his liking for simplicity and thrift to such a degree that in a 
man of his fortune it may seem to amount to meanness. The econom- 
ics of conspicuous waste have as little appeal to him as they had to 
Thorstein Veblen. 

He is now sixty-seven years old. For a man who in his youth prac- 
ticed physical culture and weight lifting, and employed professional 
wrestlers to exercise him, he gives an impression of great physical 
fragility, which is increased by the almost unnatural pallor of his 
face. He talks slowly, quietly, almost shyly, but this in no way 
detracts from the authority with which he speaks about the subjects 
that interest him — oil, art, history. In meeting him, your impression 
is overwhelmingly that of meeting a man who succeeds in looking 
at facts as they are and not as one might wish them to be; if there 
is a weakness in this, it is that not all the facts are included, par- 
ticularly those that cannot be measured. So realistic a view of life is 
rare, and might be depressing to encounter, if the shock were not 
softened by the modesty and courtesy with which he states his 
rather alarming conclusions about the world and his own place in it. 





(with Reuel Denney and Nathan Glazer) 

Is there a change in the chaiactei of the American people? 

Is there a change in the character of the American busi- 

David Riesman^ Nathan Glazer, and Reuel Denney pon- 
dered these questions in their famous hook The Lonely 
Crowd. Yes, they said, there was a change. The men who 
once dominated our society were inner-directed. The inner- 
directed person was he who had internalized adult authority. 
He was the pioneer, the individualist or, if we look at the 
representatives in this hook, the Morgans, the Fords, and 
even the Paul Gettys. Now, maintained Riesman and his 
colleagues, society has changed. We are now dominated by 
the "other-directed character.'' The other-directed person 
is one whose character is formed chicEy by the example of 
his peers and contemporaries. This thesis, perhaps is an 
over simplification of a current picture of American society. 
Nonetheless, it caught the popular imagination and the 
words "other-directed'' and "inner-directed" have become 
popular currency for everything from the Board table to the 
cocktail party. 

* From: The Lonely Ciowd (New Haven: Yale University 
Press) 1950. 


58 The Changing Businessman: From Free Trade to Fail Trade 

The Lonely Crowd offers provocative theses. It points out 
thatj although America is the best reported nation on earthy 
there are many things that we have Uttle or no knowledge 
about, such as character, political style, and leisure uses. 
''America is not only big and rich, it is mysterious and its 
interest matches that of the legendary inscrutable Chinese.'' 
The Lonely Crowd attempts to make some oi the facets of 
that inscrutable world clear. Despite the Chinese fortune 
-; cookie make-up of contemporary American sociology, the 

" authors of The Lonely Crowd revealed a great deal about the 

businessman today. 

In the following selection, Mr. Riesman and his coJIabora- 
. tors evaluate some of the factors that are behind our man- 

agement life today. 

Management man needs as much imagination, as much 
industry, as much nerve, and as much insight into his prob- 
lems as he can get in the world. We feel spokesmen such as 
Mr. Riesman, once a lawyer, then a law clerk to Justice 
Brandeis, and later Deputy Assistant District Attorney, New 
York City, before he became then a professor of Social Sci- 
ence at the University of Chicago, are very necessary. 

Management is a lonely business. It may be, of course, that 
the conformity that so frequently accompanies our contem- 
porary culture is very often nothing but a screen. As Clarence 
Randall discloses in his recent book, even the myth of the 
"management committee'' is false. We are all, whether we 
want to face it or not, individuals. We are all, within or with- 
out the crowd, bound to be lonely on occasion. An important 
business decision is a highly creative act, although artists and 
poets and painters would be inch'ned to dispute this. Creative 
acts are lonely acts. In the rapid period of transition, loneli- 
ness is apt to be pointed up even more poignantly. Some- 
times the amazing thing that one discovers is not that the 
world has changed so rapidly but rather that we are all still 
remarkably the same — individuals, no matter how that Chi- 
nese fortune cookie crumbles. 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 59 


n the days of free trade the inner-directed businessman 
was insulated from too close a preoccupation with people 
in a number of ways, especially by the notion of the invisible hand. 
Tradition mediated his relation to his work force. Bankers mediated 
his relation with the source of financial supply — often, indeed, bankers 
were his major antennae to the wider world. Lawyers mediated his 
relation to government either by litigation or lucre. And he needed no 
one to tell him what he was in business for. Though his motives might 
be complex, the push of the invisible hand was on his back and drove 
him if he wanted to stay in or get to the top. 

Today these habits are visibly changing. Relations that were once 
handled by the price mechanism or fiat are now handled by negotia- 
tion. Very soon after the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 out- 
lawed unfair competition it became clear that what was unfair was 
to lower the price of goods, though this view was concealed under 
attacks against cheating or mislabeling of goods. But in the NRA 
period this covert attitude received government and public sanction, 
and it became libelous to call someone a price cutter. With the pas- 
sage of the Robinson-Patman Act and state fair-trade laws, free trade 
and fair trade became antithetical terms. Thus prices must be set by 
administration and negotiation or, where this is too likely to bring 
in the Antitrust Division, by ''price leadership.'' 

Price leadership often looks to the economist simply as the ma- 
nipulator of devices to avoid price wars and divide the field. But price 
leadership has other aspects as well. It is a means by which the bur- 
den of decision is put onto the ''others." The so-called price leaders 
themselves look to the government for clues, since cost — that myth- 
ical will-of -the- wisp — is no longer, if it ever really was, an unequivocal 
guide. Follow-the-leader is also played in arriving at the price and 
working conditions of labor; and unions have profited from their 
ability to play on the wishes of top management to be in stride with 
the industry leaders, and to be good fellows to boot. As we shall see 
later, the other-directed pattern of politics tends to resemble the 
other-directed pattern of business: leadership is in the same amor- 
phous state. Moreover, both in business and in politics, the other- 

60 The Changing Businessman: From Free Trade to Fail Trade 

directed executive prefers to stabilize his situation at a level that does 
not make too heavy demands on him for performance. Hence^ at 
various points in the decision-making process he will vote for an 
easier life as against the risks of expansion and free-for-all compe- 

Such a business life does not turn out to be the ''easy" one. For 
one thing, the other-directeds do not have things all their own way in 
business any more than they do in politics. Free trade is still a power- 
ful force, despite the incursions of the fair traders. Many observers, 
judging the degree of monopoly by looking at the percentage of 
assets controlled by the large, administered-price corporations, over- 
look the fact that even a small percentage of companies outside the 
range of the glad hand can have a leverage quite disproportionate to 
their assets. Rubber may be a monopoly, but will we always need 
rubber? Movies may be monopolistic, but what about television or 
facsimile? In the small and marginal industries, the monopolies not of 
today but of tomorrow, there is often no need to be a good fellow. 
What is more, the dynamics of technological change remain challeng- 
ing; whole departments within industries, as well as whole industries 
themselves, can become obsolete, despite their ability to negotiate 
repeated stays of technological death sentence. Even within the great 
monopolistic industries there are still many technologically oriented 
folk as well as many technologically oriented departments; no manage- 
ment planning in any one company can completely smooth out and 
routinize the pressure resulting from their innovations. 

For another thing, to the extent that the businessman is freed by 
his character and situation from cost considerations, he must face the 
problem of finding new motives for his entrepreneurship. He must 
tune in to the others to see what they are saying about what a proper 
business ought to be. Thus, a psychological sensitivity that begins 
with fear of being called a price cutter spreads to fear of being un- 
fashionable in other ways. The businessman is as afraid of pursuing 
goals that may be obsolete as of living a style of life that may not be 
stylish. Oriented as he is to others, and to the consumption sphere, 
he views his own business as a consumer. 

We can see the shift in many corporate histories. A business that 
begins as a small family enterprise, whose founders have their eye on 
the main chance — with a focus on costs and a ''show me" attitude 
about good will and public relations — often alters its aims in the sec- 

Management Man; Who He Is and Who He Isn't 61 

ond generation. Fortune is put on the table, a trade association is 
joined, and the aim becomes not so much dollars as the possession 
of those appurtenances which an up-to-date company is supposed to 
have. We see a succession of demi-intellectuals added to the staff: 
industrial relations directors, training directors, safety directors. A 
house organ is published; consultants are called in on market re- 
search, standard operating procedures, and so on; shop and store 
front have their faces lifted; and in general status is sought, v^ith 
profits becoming useful as one among many symbols of status and 
as the reserve for further moves toward a status-dictated expansion. 

In many cases this shift is accompanied by a conflict of the older, 
more inner-directed with the younger, more other-directed genera- 
tion. The older men have come up through the shop or through a 
technical school with no pretensions in the field of human relations. 
The younger ones are imbued with the new ethic. They seem still to 
be concerned about making money, and to some extent they are, but 
they are also concerned with turning their company into the model 
which they learned at business school. Businessmen recognize this 
new orientation when they speak of themselves, as they frequently 
do, as ''trustees'' for a variety of publics. And while they try to ma- 
nipulate these publics and to balance between them, they, like the 
political leaders, are manipulated by the expectations the public has, 
or is thought to have, of them. 

If one had to set a date for the change, one might say that the old 
epoch ended with the death of Henry Ford. After his death the firm, 
a last stronghold of older ways, completed the installation of new 
labor, accounting, and other management techniques and orientations. 

The word fair in part reflects a carry-over of peer-group values into 
business life. The peer-grouper is imbued with the idea of fair play; 
the businessman, of fair trade. Often this means that he must be 
willing to negotiate matters on which he might stand on his rights. 
The negotiator, moreover, is expected to bring home not only a spe- 
cific victory but also friendly feelings toward him and toward his 
company. Hence, to a degree, the less he knows about the underlying 
facts, the easier it will be to trade concessions. He is like the street- 
corner salesman Vv^ho, reproached for selling for four cents apples that 
cost him five, said ''But think of the turnover!" Here again craft skill, 

62 The Changing Businessman: From Free Trade to Fair Trade 

if not an actual drawback, becomes less important than manipulative 

Obviously, much of what has been said applies to the ''demo- 
cratic" trade union bureaucracy, the professions, and to academic life 
as well as to the business world. The lawyer, for instance, who moves 
into top positions inside and outside his profession is no longer neces- 
sarily a craftsman who has mastered the intricacies of, say, corporate 
finance, but may be one who has shown himself to be a good contact 
man. Since contacts need to be made and remade in every generation 
and cannot be inherited, this creates lucrative opportunities for the 
mobile other-directed types whose chief ability is smooth negotiation. 

The medical profession is even more clearly a field in which suc- 
cess has com.e to depend almost entirely (unless one cares to be ''un- 
ethical'') on the esteem of colleagues. To be sure, doctors have always 
been customer oriented, but the bedside manner is a much easier mask 
to maintain than the need to propitiate a small number of colleagues 
who decisively control one's fate. For the bedside manner is a rela- 
tively formalized mask of cheerfulness and imperturbability, worn in 
front of people ready to be impressed by one's status and mystique. 
But obviously this will not work with colleagues who know one too 
well and who share the mystique. Before them one must have a mask 
that pretends to be everything but a mask: a dissimulation that pre- 
tends to sincerity, a caution that pretends to casualness, an antago- 
nism that pretends to cooperation. Similarly, we can contrast the 
small grocer who must please his individual patrons, perhaps by a 
"counter-side manner," with the chain-store employee who must 
please both the patrons and his co-workers in the shop; indeed, in 
pleasing the patrons he cannot antagonize the co-workers, any more 
than a nurse in a hospital can afford, lest the other nurses ruin her, 
to become too friendly with the sick. The colleague, like the peer- 
grouper, is the very person with whom one engages in competition 
for the scarce commodity of approval and the very person to whom 
one looks for guidance as to what is desirable. 

There is also a change in the same direction in the services pro- 
vided by the professional and in the way these services are shopped 
for. Today the housewife is no longer trained to argue with the 
butcher about all cuts of meat because so many of them are increas- 
ingly offered in standard cuts and grades. Just so, the shopper for 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 63 

professional services learns not to trust his layman's judgment but to 
look for the label. Moreover, shopping is itself a major leisure-time 
pursuit in a society where the frontiers of consumption seem more 
exciting than those of production. This is true not only of the house- 
wiie but also for business corporations that employ professional con- 
sultants. Where interlocking directorates do not dictate the choice, 
the business may often shop for more up-to-date legal advice or run 
through a sequence of management consultant firms, each more flam- 
boyant than the last, each engaged in adding to overhead one or more 
additional sets of semiprofessional specialists. 

By and large, business firms until World War I needed only three 
kinds of professional advice: legal, auditing, and engineering. These 
were relatively impersonal services, even when, in the case of the law- 
yers, the services included buying — for cash on the barrelhead — a few 
legislators or judges. Since the number of available specialists was 
fairly small in comparison with demand, they could be absorbed into 
either or both of the two types of prevailing nexus: one, the family- 
status-connection nexus which persisted from earlier times in the 
smaller communities and does so even today in these communities 
and in the South; the other, the cash nexus based on performance, 
or on ''character" in the older sense. Today the buyer is, first of all, 
not sure which of many services to buy: shall he get a lawyer or a 
public relations man oi a market research agency oi call in a manage- 
ment consulting firm to decide; second, he is not sure of his choice 
among the many potential suppliers of each of these services — none 
of whom must he accept either for family-status-connection reasons 
or for obviously superior character and performance. Thus choice 
will turn on a complex of more or less accidental, whimsical factors: 
a chance contact or conversation, a story in Business Week or a ''con- 
fidential" newsletter, the luck of a salesman. In this situation the 
professional man's uneasy relation to his craft resembles that of a hus- 
band to a good-looking and flirtatious wife in a roomful of competi- 
tive men. The recurrent codes of ethics devised by the various pro- 
fessional associations are symptoms of this malaise; and so is the effort 
to draw, in the fluid competitive setting, lines of ethnic or social in- 
acceptability aimed at eliminating some of the competitors. The kinds 
of competition that are to be deemed fair are always subject to the 
negotiation of the peer-group and its interpretations of the rules of 
the game. 

64 The Changing Businessman: From Free Trade to Fail Trade 



In this phrase Professor Paul Lazarsfeld once summed up some 
recent changes in economic attitudes. There was a time when many 
inner-directed men thought of their bank account as their most sohd 
and rehable friend. In those days of an unequivocal gold standard 
(unequivocal because it was ''understood" only by bankers and econ- 
omists and held to be too mysterious for politicians to tinker with) 
property could serve as a protective shell for the inner-directed man. 
Property in our time has become an uncertain asset for its anxious 
possessors. Taxes, inflation, panic liquidity have made it factually 
vaporous; and changed attitudes toward wealth have made it emo- 
tionally elusive. The rich man must use his expense account to estab- 
lish himself as a fine fellow and to protect, in his own eyes as well as 
the eyes of others, his right to his bank account. 

The expense account is tied in with today's emphasis on con- 
sumption practices as firmly as the bank account in the old days was 
tied in with production ideals. The expense account gives the glad 
hand its grip. In doing so it still further breaks down the wall that in 
the era depending on inner-direction separated the paths of pleasure 
and of work. The successful other-directed man brings to business the 
set of attitudes learned in the consumption sphere not only when 
he appraises his own firm with a customer's eye but also when he 
is ''in conference." 

Business is supposed to be fun. As World War II inflation cooled 
off, the business pages repeatedly carried speeches at conventions on 
the theme: "Now selling will be fun again!" The demand to have 
fun is one that the inner-directed businessman never faced. He could 
afford to be properly gloomy and grim. The shortening of hours, 
which in any case has affected the working class more than the mid- 
dle class, has extended the requirements for office sociability largely 
in the top management of business, government, and academic life. 
Here people spend long hours in the company of their office peer- 
group. Their lunches are long; their golf games longer still. Much 
time in the office itself is also spent in sociability: exchanging office 
gossip ("conferences"), making good-will tours ("inspection"), talk- 
ing to salesmen and joshing secretaries ("morale"). In fact, depleting 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 65 

the expense account can serve as an almost limitless occupational 
therapy for men who, out of a tradition of hard work, a dislike of 
their wives, a lingering asceticism, and an anxiety about their antago- 
nistic cooperators, still feel that they must put in a good day's work 
at the office. But, of course, Simmel would not admit, in his brilliant 
essay from which I quoted, that this kind of sociability, carrying so 
much workaday freight, was either free or sociable. 

For the new type of career there must be a new type of education. 
This is one factor, of course not the only one, behind the increasing 
vogue of general education and the introduction of the humanities 
and social studies into technical high school and university programs. 
The educators who sponsor these programs urge cultivating the 
'Vhole man,'' speak of training citizens for democracy, and de- 
nounce narrow specialisms — all valuable themes. Indeed this book 
grows in part out of the stimulation of teaching in a general social 
science program. But since the social studies as usually taught are 
often lacking in humanistic import, it may be doubtful that engi- 
neers and businessmen will become either better citizens or better 
people for having been exposed to them. On the other hand, there is 
the great probability that they will be more suave. They may be able 
to demonstrate their edge on the roughnecks from the ''tech" schools 
by trotting out discourse on human relations. Such eloquence may be 
as necessary for professional and business success today as a knowl- 
edge of the classics was to the English politician and high civil serv- 
ant of the last century. 

Meanwhile, I do not wish to exaggerate the extent of ''false per- 
sonalization" and emphasis on human relations even in the bureauc- 
ratized sectors of the economy. There is much variety still: some com- 
panies, such as Sears Roebuck, are run by glad banders, while others 
like, let us say, Montgomery Ward, are not; some, like Anaconda, 
are public relations conscious; others, like Kennecott, are less so. 
Much current progress in distribution, even in selling, tends to re- 
duce the importance of the human agent as salesman. This is clear 
enough in the Automat. Moreover, the human agent as salesman is 
minimized wherever a technician is needed: for instance, salesmen of 
specialized equipment which requires a reorientation of the cus- 
tomer's work force. Though IBM salesmen have to be go-getters, they 

66 The Changing Businessman: From Free Trade to Fair Trade 

also have to know how to wire a tabulating machine and, still more 
important, how to rationalize the information flow within a com- 
pany. Hence, although they are facilitators of the communications 
revolution, they must be no less craft oriented than the salesmen of 
the less complex equipment of an earlier era. Within most such in- 
dustries there is a great need for technically minded people who are, 
to a considerable degree, protected by their indispensable skills from 
having to be nice to everybody, with or without an expense account. 



Managers, Heirymon Maurer points out in his hook Great 
Enterprise; Growth and Behavior of the Big Corporation, are 
hhoiing to End out exactly what the corporation is and what 
it can do. They are aJso, when you push this a step further, 
trying to find out just who they are. The growth oi manage- 
ment hie runs parallel to the growth of our society to under- 
stand itself. 

The new manager is very alert to understanding himself 
and understanding the world in which he works. Managers 
have become increasingly conscious oi how they must he 
responsible to the company, to the society, and to their 
own selves. The manager of today is a serious student oi 
experiment and change. New values, new goods, new distri- 
butions, new ideas, are constant challenges. The age oi 
Morgan is over; the age oi Ford has been assimilated; a Getty 
is unusual; but the manager is omnipresent. Mr. Maurer 
maintains, "This is not the age oi would-be tycoons or enter- 
prising manipulators. It is the age oi management. Projections 
oi past trends indicate that it will remain so. The managers 
will probably continue to be analytical, inconspicuous men, 
engaged in a continuing study, experiment, and change. They 
will be better educated, less specialized in any Eeld other 
than their own proiession oi group management. They wilJ 
look more and more at the future, use more and better 

* From: Great Enterprise (New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany) 1955. 


68 The New Manager 

instruments and piocesses to insure increasing productivity, 
impioving standards oi living and growing economic sta- 

A Fortune editor, Mr. Maurer, has based his exhaustive 
analysis on the inside story of the growth and operation oi 
fifty top corporations. 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 69 


Ithough the great changes in the behavior of the large 
corporation make it look like a new form of enterprise, 
a final conclusion as to its newness can be reached only after it is 
determined whether the motives of the men who now manage it are 
new also. Here a succinct paragraph written in 1776 by Adam Smith 
himself is highly useful in establishing what is traditional. This 
paragraph, a discussion of the managerial motives behind the very few 
large enterprises of the eighteenth century, facilitates comparison with 
the motives behind large enterprise today. 

Wrote Adam Smith in The Wealth oi Nations: 'The trade of a 
joint stock company is always managed by a court of directors. This 
court, indeed, is frequently subject, in many respects, to the control 
of a general court of proprietors. But the greater part of those 
proprietors seldom pretend to understand anything of the business of 
the company; and when the spirit of faction happens not to prevail 
among them, give themselves no trouble about it, but receive con- 
tentedly such half yearly or yearly dividend, as the directors think 
proper to make to them. This total exemption from trouble and from 
risk, beyond a limited sum, encourages many people to become adven- 
turers in joint stock companies, who would, upon no account, hazard 
their fortunes in any private copartnery. Such companies, therefore, 
commonly draw to themselves much greater stocks than any private 
copartnery can boast of . . . The directors of such companies, however, 
being the managers rather of other people's money than of their own, 
it cannot well be expected that they should watch over it with the 
same anxious vigilance with which the partners in private copartnery 
frequently watch over their own . . . Negligence and profusion, there- 
fore, must always prevail, more or less, in the management of the 
affairs of such a company. 

These observations doubtless constitute a very apt description of 
the affairs of such large corporations as existed in the third quarter of 
the eighteenth century. (They are certainly an apt description of the 
management of the South Sea Co., a bubble which collapsed sen- 
sationally. ) But are they pertinent to large corporations in the middle 
of the twentieth century? A profound student of modern enterprise, 
Frank Abrams, has reported: 

70 The New Manager 

''We have a stewardship in a company hke Jersey Standard and 
a personal pride. We would like to leave the company in a sounder 
and more assured position than when we took it over. We are not 
looking to the company just to support us; we want to make it 
healthy for future generations and for the employees who will come 
along. We like to feel that it is a good place for people to work. We 
have equal responsibilities to other groups: stockholders, customers, 
and the public generally, including government. What is the proper 
balance for the claims of these different sections? What part of profits 
should go to stockholders? What part to the employees' wages? What 
part to the customer in lower prices and improved quality? Keeping 
the proper balance in these things is one of the most important 
matters that corporate management has to consider. We hope that 
as we learn more about them (and each generation of management 
that comes in has to learn them ) we are making some progress toward 
responsible direction. If you want to do a good job as managers of 
your business, you must get such philosophy down through the organ- 
ization. It is a matter of education of managers and employees, and in 
understanding it they become more intelligent in their relations with 
the public — and every individual in the company has his own public. 
It gives them a sense of belonging, of knowing what we are after. The 
company then is a kind of team that they want to belong to; it is 
a great moral drive of many persons.'' 


Except for the fact that they are both talking about paid man- 
agers of big enterprise, Adam Smith and Frank Abrams are clearly not 
discussing the same things. Abrams' topics are stewardship, respon- 
sibility, and the moral drive of a group. Smith's topic — and the basis 
of his objections to corporations — is that private individuals are better 
judges of their money interests than are hired managers, who, lacking 
personal incentives, are likely to be disputatious, uninformed, and lazy. 

Smith's specific complaints can be briskly dismissed. Half a 
century ago it would not have been hard to find managers possessed 
of at least some of these vices. Today it would be extremely difficult. 
Downright dissension — in contrast to difference of opinion — is now a 
rarity. When it occurs, it is only temporary; otherwise the cooperative 

Management Man; Who He Is and Who He Isnt 71 

effort underlying modern management would break down, and the 
activities of the company involved would stumble to a halt. As for 
laziness and ignorance, the executives of today's large corporations 
serve long apprenticeships, in the course of which they are required 
to labor hard at a wide variety of jobs. Usually they hold their top 
jobs only for a brief span of years, whereupon they pass them on to 
the next group of graduate apprentices. In other words, most of an 
executive's working years are spent in training; in which devotion to 
work is a primary condition for assignment to executive training, and, 
as such, is taken for granted. Modern managers do not make a practice 
of quoting old adages about diligence, but most of them put in more 
labor on their respective jobs than Andrew Carnegie put into the 
creation of the steel industry. What was feared by Adam Smith — that 
hired managers would not look after other people's money with 
''anxious vigilance" — has simply not materialized. 

Why have these fears not materialized? If the answer is that 
modern managers are motivated by forces other than those known to 
traditional economists, then traditional economics is outmoded, and 
the large corporation is definitely a new sort of institution. On the 
other hand, if the answer is that managers are motivated by personal 
interests of a traditional sort, then it is obvious why they are not lax 
at their jobs; it accordingly seems evident that the large corporation 
may be new only in appearance, not in nature. 

Are today's managers driven by a profit motive? Such a motive 
was held by the Classical economists to be the prime mover of busi- 
ness life, and the individual urge to maximize profits was held to be 
the prime force in the economy as a whole. Nowadays, of course, 
managers seldom have any profits of their own to maximize. They are 
responsible for earning profits, but the profits accrue not to them but 
to their corporations, entities which are persons only by legal defini- 
tion, and which by no flight of fancy can be imagined as having 
psychological motives of any sort. Not the company but the manager 
has motives. Yet whatever business decision he may make, the result- 
ing profit or loss is unlikely to have much effect on his own pocket- 
book. The stock ownership of most managers in their companies is 
remarkably slight. In contrast to the capitalists of the early years of 
this century, some of whom had enough money to make profound 
impressions on the U.S. economy, extremely few managers today have 
enough money to make even a superficial impression on their own 

11 The New Manager 

companies — even if they should want to. Most of them do not. It is 
the common habit of contemporary managers to reach decisions on 
the basis of what will be good for the company, not on the basis of 
what will produce the highest immediate dividends or the greatest 
rise in stock values. 

A manager's livelihood depends, of course, on his receiving a 
salary, but salaries and profits cannot be said to provide motives in the 
same sense. For one thing, management salaries seldom fluctuate 
according to company earnings. There is far less difference between 
the good-year and the not-so-good-year remuneration of the president 
of General Motors than there is between his year-in — year-out remu- 
neration and that of the president of Jersey Standard, a company of 
comparable size and importance that happens to maintain a more 
conservative salary scale. To be sure, an executive in any one of many 
companies may occasionally be rewarded for consistently good judg- 
ment by an increase in salary or an option for a number of shares of 
stock. But it is difficult in most large corporations to disentangle one 
man's judgment from those of other men. Generally speaking, the 
executive gets his salary increases not so much on the basis of special 
merit as on the basis of company policies, which provide regular in- 
crements at stated steps in each executive's career. Furthermore, once 
an executive is an established member of management, his continued 
employment and his salary are well-nigh certain until he retires. An 
informal and little-discussed tenure system exists in a great majority 
of corporations (Montgomery Ward has been one of the few excep- 
tions), and dismissals are comparatively rare. 

Regular recompense — even at current rates and with current taxes 
— could be cited as an incentive to make executives stay at their job. 
But it is not a direct incentive to sound judgments and wise decisions 
— in short to efficiency on their jobs — since rarely does premium or 
penalty attach to executive performance. 


Can it be that there are other incentives which, although differ- 
ent in type from the traditional motives, are similar in function? A 
will to power, although socially reprehensible, may take the place of 
a will to maximize personal profits, but the era in which the heads of 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 73 

corporations actually had power has long since come to an end. Now- 
adays managers are also denied the incentive — or the consolation — 
of fame. They have little opportunity to practice personal largesse in 
public, little occasion to make friendships with kings, captains, and 
movie stars, unless they happen to have such persons under contract 
to their companies. Except within their own organizations and in- 
dustries, they are largely unknown and unsung. 

Note how managers fare in the latest (1950) edition of The 
Columbia. Encyclopedia^ perhaps the largest and most inclusive of 
general ready-reference volumes. It contains data about places, dynas- 
ties, universities, colleges, and other assorted institutions, as well as 
biographies of men of practically all kinds, living and dead. There are 
sketches of painters, scholars, writers, clergymen, politicians, musi- 
cians, diplomats, jurists, scientists, movie stars, baseball players, ice- 
skaters, and singers of songs. There are sketches neither of General 
Motors nor of the chairman of G.M.'s board. The encyclopedia does 
not list the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, its then- 
president, or its former president. It records briefly the existence of 
both the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central but men- 
tions no then-current executive. It overlooks both C. E. Wilsons. 
(Neither had yet gone to a top job in Washington.) The encyclopedia 
overlooks G.E., Westinghouse, Swift, Jersey Standard, R.C.A., and 
other comparable corporations and makes no mention of their chief 
executives. It does mention a vice-president of Sears who worked for 
the government during the war, but it does not mention the long- 
time chairman of the Sears' board. It refers to the capitalists of the 
last half of the nineteenth century in some detail and includes some of 
their descendants. But it does not give space to the men who are now 
running the businesses founded by them. 

Reasons for such inattention have been intimated by Crawford 
H. Greenewalt, president of du Pont, who notes that ''. . . achievement 
in the executive field is much less spectacular than comparable suc- 
cess in many of the professions — the scientist, for example, who wins 
the Nobel Prize, the headline name who is elected governor, the skill- 
ful politician, the articulate college president. In fact, the more effec- 
tive an executive, the more his own identity and personality blend 
into the background of his organization. Here is a queer paradox. The 
more able the man, the less he stands out, the greater his relative 
anonymity outside his immediate circle." 

74 The New Manager 

Can it be that an insatiable urge to be top boss some day drives 
the new managers throughout the long period stretching from their 
small beginnings to their brief conclusions in positions of eminence, 
terminating usually at age sixty-five? It may be, of course, that some 
managers would like to boss. But few of them have the chance to do 
so. The presidents and chairmen of many companies, in fact, like to 
remark jocularly that they are the most expendable men in their 
organizations: Having no defined sphere of authority, they must labor 
as reconciliators between executives whose authority is defined. In the 
course of a factory tour shortly after William C. Stolk had been made 
chief executive officer of the largest container company in the country 
(sales for American Can in 1953, $661 million), he was asked by a 
machine operator what his job was. Stolk replied evasively that he 
worked in New York. 'That's a big office," said the workman. ''What 
department?'' Stolk indicated the executive department. "But what 
do you do?" Stolk referred to liaison between departments. "Well, 
how many people?" Stolk added together vice-presidents and secre- 
taries and gave the number eight. "But I still don't know what you 
do." At this, Stolk broke down and admitted that he was president of 
the company. "My job," he said, "is mostly talking with people." By 
long tradition, indeed, the president of American Can is part of a 
group conversation, and it is his function to encourage deliberation 
by being omnipresent and yet unobtrusive. William Stolk is the sort 
of manager, increasingly prevalent among businesses growing increas- 
ingly large, who merges his own ideas with those of other executives, 
understating his own conclusions in order to encourage other execu- 
tives to state theirs. 

Of very few managers can it be said that they literally lay down 
policy. Outstanding personal performances, when examined, do not 
usually turn out to be as individual as they appear. Radio Corporation 
of America may indeed be in considerable measure the projection of 
David Sarnoff, who still likes to point out that the head of a business 
could learn a great deal from watching Toscanini get music out of an 
orchestra: Toscanini knew what he wanted; he demanded higher per- 
formance than did most other conductors; and he actually drew out 
of his players more than they thought they had in them. But it was 
the players, not Toscanini, who were actually making music. Sarnoff, 
in fact, has long given his blessing to a series of R.C.A. management 
groups. When Robert E. Wood was still chairman of Sears, Roebuck, 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 7S 

there were various management groups in which failure to agree con- 
stituted a cardinal sin, as indeed it still does under Chairman Houser. 
Wood undertook ventures as far-reaching as retail merchandising in 
Latin America and projects as ambitious as the stimulation of industry 
and agriculture throughout the South. But he also maintained his own 
discussion group: a carefully picked board of directors from whom he 
skillfully elicited hard work and good advice. Furthermore, one policy 
that he liked to emphasize was the Sears' system of spreading opera- 
tional authority. 

There was, to be sure, one corporation manager who was authen- 
tically autocratic: octogenarian Sewell Avery of Montgomery Ward, 
who not only put handcuffs on such subordinates as survived his rule 
but a strait jacket on Montgomery Ward's growth. There is also 
Robert R. Young of the Alleghany Corporation, who won control of 
the Nev/ York Central Railroad. Men like Young, however, are not 
corporation managers but financial organizers and, as such, not part 
of the settled big company segment of U.S. business. 

Among other large companies, the emphasis, in varying degree, 
is more on the top-executive group than on the individual manager. 
Where, then, are genuine incentives for managers to be found? 


Many managers, perhaps, would not be reluctant to have their 
egos stirred by fame, wealth, power, or profits. But they lack oppor- 
tunity. What specific occasions do they have in their business life to 
indulge the direct and immediately rewarding self-interest from which, 
according to six generations of economists and entrepreneurs, the com- 
mon good was supposed to have emerged? 

It is still possible to argue that large enterprise would be respon- 
sive purely to the traditional economic factor of self-interest if profit- 
seeking individuals outside the corporation were actually influencing 
inside decisions. Stockholders, it is widely known, no longer wield 
such influence; indeed, in the few companies where there are still 
controlling blocks of stock, the owners customarily look to the man- 
agement to bring in better profits than they themselves could. In such 
cases, Adam Smith's dictum is turned upside down: Hired managers 

"76 The New Manager 

watch over other people's money more suecessfully than those other 
people ean. 

In the past, bankers sometimes exercised unusual influence over 
the affairs of many corporations; this idea, indeed, has become part 
of American folklore, and persons unfamiliar with the way big com- 
panies now work sometimes imagine that the corporations are in thrall 
to the financial houses. A short look at such institutions, however, 
dispels any such notion. At the Chase Manhattan Bank, for instance, 
Chairman John J. McCloy exercises authority in no way comparable 
to that which he formerly had as High Commissioner for Germany. 
McCloy's definition of the aim of big commercial banking — ''work- 
ing the economy, keeping it moving'' — is an exact description of what 
is done not only at Chase but at similar institutions throughout the 
country. ''A commercial bank," notes McCloy, 'puts to work the 
money it safeguards, and when it puts money to work, people are put 
to work." In the course of such operations, which involve some $5.5 
billion for Chase alone, the big banking houses carry on perpetual con- 
versations with industrial and financial houses all over the world, the 
sum of which is an immense and immeasurably vital interchange of 
economic intelligence. Banking can be big business, but it is service 

Henry C. Alexander, president of the now-incorporated firm that 
has played so large a role in U.S. business — J. P. Morgan & Co. — re- 
fers casuahy and affectionately to his company as "a small bank." (Its 
rank fluctuates between twentieth and thirtieth among the nation's 
banks.) }. P. Morgan & Co. still serves top U.S. companies and large 
foreign concerns, as well as some of the principal governments of the 
world. Today loans are on the rise; accounts that were dormant are 
now active; the number of new accounts increases steadily. 'The 
bank is bigger," Henry Alexander sums up, "than it ever was — bigger 
in clients, in deposits, and in services." It still has great influence, but 
it no longer exerts it on such issues as Robert Young's siege of the 
New York Central. 

The men at 23 Wall Street are still pursuing the ends set by the 
younger Morgan — "doing only first-class business and that in a first- 
class way." But changing ways of doing business have long been char- 
acteristic of the bank. The formidable character of founder Pierpont 
Morgan has led to the popular notion that the bank was an immov- 
able colossus from its beginnings until it ran into Mr. Pecora, the 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 77 

midget, and the New Deal. Actually, the senior Morgan himself 
moved with the times, promoting his famous combinations when 
conditions favored them, and retreating into different fields when 
Theodore Roosevelt shook the big stick at him. Son J. P. Morgan, for 
his part, found the times different and used different methods. He 
neither sought nor exercised power; he approved sound deposits, high- 
quality loans, and top-grade bonds; he disliked stock issues. Through 
successful concentration on the bond-and-banking business, the Mor- 
gan influence ran high, although the bank itself stayed relatively small. 
After the 1929 crash, there were continuing investigations in Washing- 
ton (Pecora, Nye, Wheeler, TNEC), undertaken largely because of 
the myth that the sedate J. P. was the same man as the imperious 
Pierpont and that he presided over a vast system of interlocking direc- 
torates through his supposed grip on security issues. Such misinforma- 
tion helped promote the divorce of commercial and investment bank- 
ing in 1933 and eliminated a great traditional source of the bank's 
influence and deposits, but J. P. Morgan unhesitatingly led his firm 
into commercial banking, which he considered more sound and more 
stable than the business of issuing securities. 

Meanwhile, mounting government debts and budgets had shifted 
the center of monetary policy to Washington. In contrast to World 
War I, when J. P. Morgan & Co. floated loans and purchased material 
for the Allies, World War II afforded the company the relatively 
tame job of absorbing U.S. bonds. Today, under Chairman George 
Whitney and President Alexander, the bank is characterized by a 
readiness to compete for accounts and by a reluctance to speak out 
even on public business disputes. ''We don't try to run other people's 
business," Alexander explains, ''and there have been so many charges 
in the past that we want to avoid the appearance of doing so." The 
Morgan reluctance illustrates the degree of change that has overtaken 
23 Wall Street during the past half-century. The bank exerts leader- 
ship, but of a quieter, less dramatic, more intellectual kind, with the 
stress strongly on service. 

The bank carries on not only the particular services — e.g., deposit, 
loan, trust, foreign — offered by many banks, but uniquely complete 
financial, industrial, and economic intelligence, together with intense 
deliberation on the complex subject of money itself — a topic scarcely 
known to the public, incompletely known to most economists and 
managers, and so imperfectly known even to some bankers that they 

7S The New Manager 

are disinclined to discuss it. Actually, banking is the buying and sell- 
ing of money, interest and discount rates being the price. A knowledge 
of money, not simply the money market but the supply and demand 
of money, along with international, political, and economic forces 
that may upset supply and demand — this knowledge is essential in 
making loans to corporations, handling the bank's portfolio, and ad- 
vising clients on the investment of their own funds. It requires broad 
experience and infinite art to shift emphasis from one position to an- 
other — e.g., from long term to short term. Morgan men, therefore, 
examine the general state of the economy, the fiscal policies of the 
government, and the movements of money through its intricate chan- 
nels. These factors govern the general monetary health of the country, 
determine whether inflation siphons off public and private assets or 
deflation shrinks assets and reduces productivity. The bank disdains 
loans that aid schemes of speculation or manipulation. '*We have no 
relish,'' notes Henry Alexander, ''for financing an operator bent on 
liquidating a company for a fast dollar. Money is useful when it is 
used to build and construct." 

Far from setting the pace for big corporations, larger financial 
houses are in some ways following. They have a service to sell, and to 
sell it most effectively they have organized their operations after the 
pattern found in large industrial concerns and utilities. This is true of 
banks like the Chase Manhattan, First National City, Mellon Na- 
tional, and Bank of America. It is true also of the big insurance com- 
panies. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., to take an example, has 
more assets than any other private organization in the world — more 
than $12 billion — and it regularly has a billion dollars or so of new 
money to invest each year. The company's philosophy of investment 
begins with the somewhat awesome fact that it is responsible to no 
fewer than 35 million customer-owners — one person out of every five 
in the U.S. and Canada. The first tenet of Metropolitan investment, 
consequently, is safety of principal, and the second is satisfactory re- 
turn. The third is the public interest, and to serve it the Metropolitan 
has undertaken housing developments, underwritten government 
bonds, and concentrated more than half its assets during postwar years 
in corporate securities. It has assets in such things as pipelines, natural 
gas, oil, and Labrador iron ore. But it has never dreamed of directing 
the way in which those assets are used. 'The savings that come in to 
us," observed President F. W. Ecker, "go back to communities all 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 79 

over the U.S. and Canada to expand industry, to make living more 

In short, financial houses — far from bringing profit-seeking incen- 
tives to bear on the managers of large corporations — are themselves 
corporations without rigorous incentives of the sort postulated by the 
Classical economists. F. W. Ecker of Metropolitan Life, for instance, 
works in much the same manner as the head of a vast industrial organi- 
zation, and he experiences incentives no different. Fusing the efforts 
of no fewer than eighty officers and executives prominent enough to 
be listed in the annual report, he also encourages 19,000 agents and 
almost 31,000 other employees. (The morale of this numerous group 
is bolstered by the participation of its members in the ''family," a 
term in use at the Metropolitan since 1914.) Pre-eminently a manager 
of other people's money, Ecker lives without show, works without 
fuss. He is prominent in the formation of policy, but it is incorrect to 
attribute particular policies to him. He would not be president had 
his career been marked by singlehanded feats. The president of the 
Metropohtan is expected to be outstanding, but not conspicuous. 


If there is neither the incentive of big money nor any real power 
in presiding over a large corporation, why be the head of such a cor- 
poration, or an executive in one, particularly at times when smaller 
businesses can offer more money, greater authority, more opportunity 
for tax benefits, and more chance to build a personal estate? Whatever 
the motives of managers may be, they are undoubtedly numerous and 
complex. As a political economist, Adam Smith cannot shed much 
light on this peculiarly modern problem, but as an individual he can. 
He was profoundly interested in how the economy of his times func- 
tioned; he was deeply concerned with anything that might make it 
function better. He had, indeed, a disinterested attraction to the 
workings of business; the important recompense for his own labor was 
the satisfaction of discovering what makes business tick. 

Some of the satisfaction modern managers find in their work may 
well resemble Smith's recompense. Certainly there is the satisfaction 
of making a mammoth institution work. And there is a marked reward 
in being part of a group that has a creative hand in economic life. In 

80 The New Manager 

the course of a fifteen-hour stretch of work during a hohday, R.C.A/s 
David Sarnoff, asked why he didn't knock off for the day, made what 
is now a standard big company comment: "Vm not working; Tm 
having fun. Anyone who has something to express gets tired and slug- 
gish when he can't express it." To earher businessmen, hving in a 
relatively static world and guided to a considerable extent by forces 
of supply and demand over which they had no control, the satisfaction 
of such an urge was largely denied, and their recompense for their 
labor was largely in the form of money or public esteem. A constant 
flow of new products, an increase in production, a decrease in price, 
and change and growth in the very form of business organization mark 
the large corporation; each and all offer satisfaction of other than 
pecuniary sort. 

This is not to say that there is no longer a personal desire for suc- 
cess. Probably most managers feel themselves under some sort of trial 
to prove themselves worthy. As a group they measure success by how 
well and how profitably their corporation is run. As individuals they 
measure success in terms of their importance to the corporation. 
Money is usually more a symbol of this success than it is an incentive 
or something to exchange for possessions. The location of one's office, 
the size of it, the decorations in it, and other agreed-upon marks of 
rank* have become matters of considerable importance to almost all 
but the very tip-top executives. By having all the marks of success, they 
are delivered from worry about getting them — a freedom which each 
exchanges for worry over how the administration he heads will suc- 
ceed in terms of the general economic condition of the country. 

The ambivalence that men like Carnegie felt toward wealth and 
possessions — an ambivalence present in almost every period of Ameri- 
can business — involved a repulsion from mere money-grubbing and an 
attraction toward the noncommercial virtues of wisdom and good will. 
Money-grubbing of substantial proportions is no longer possible for 
corporate managers, and the yardsticks of wisdom and good will have 
been replaced by the quite different measuring device of value to the 
corporate community itself. The fundamental problem of personal 

* Henry Kaiser has found it advisable to encourage his young executives with large 
offices, immense tables, and expanses of thick carpet. In most corporations, managers 
enjoy a better standard of living in their offices than in their homes. In their offices, 
furthermore, they are well served by assistants and secretaries, a situation which does 
not prevail at home, where they may have to serve themselves and even wash the 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 81 

business behavior still remains — how to divide one's life between 
work and the ''good life" — but there is an increasing tendency on the 
part of managers to conclude that the good life consists in working for 
the corporate community. 


By reason of sheer size, a large corporation can, of course, satisfy 
the wishes of managers attracted to particular types of work. Although 
the efhciency of manufacturing processes is no longer the critical prob- 
lem it once was, there will always be a need for production specialists, 
not to mention the ever-pressing demand for research and develop- 
ment scientists. There are places in the large corporation for men 
whose individual talents range from corporate law or public relations 
to stockholders contacts, sales, employee programs, or high-level 
finance. The executives who look after the enormous money needs of 
the Bell System and who work on the terms of A.T.&T.'s convertible 
debentures — the largest security issues in corporate history — deal 
with matters whose complexity makes the work of investment bankers 
seem, by comparison, picayune. In many corporations there is a need 
for specialists in foreign relations: companies like Jersey Standard in 
effect maintain their own departments of state. There is a definite 
need for logicians of organization, like G.E.'s Ralph Cordiner. There 
is a critical need for philosophers of business, like Frank Abrams, who 
not long ago retired from the chairmanship of the Jersey board. There 
is a place for men like the two C. E. Wilsons, each with a sense of 
duty toward public service. 

More and more, however, the large corporation is creating a type 
of man who, without ceasing to be his own man, seems to be some- 
thing of everyman: a sort of twentieth-century universal man. The 
obvious talents of President William S. Richardson of B. F. Good- 
rich, for instance, lie in scientific management and in rubber opera- 
tions and sales. Yet he founded and ran the company's chemical divi- 
sion with such notable success that Sidney Weinberg was prompted to 
remark, '1 don't know any man who knows more about the chemical 
business." The chief executives of such immense corporations as 
A.T.&T., G.M., Jersey Standard, U.S. Steel, du Pont, and G.E. ob- 
viously must be alert to a wide variety of business specialties. 

82 The New Manager 

Comparable breadth, as a matter of fact, is an essential of the 
chief executives of large corporations in general. Consider the specific 
case of Walker Cisler, now president of Detroit Edison, who in 1943 
was hired as chief engineer of the company. Shortly thereafter, Secre- 
tary of War Stimson asked him to rebuild power plants in the wake 
of Allied drives in the Mediterranean theater, and later in middle 
Europe. Cisler literally turned on the lights abroad, returning to his 
company in late 1945 with decorations from five countries. Two years 
later he was appointed executive vice-president and given particular 
responsibility for personnel, a field in which he had had no formal 
experience. Soon after, the personnel problems were eased, and Cisler 
was made president of the company (1953 assets of $761 million). By 
that time he was chief consultant on electric power to the ECA — 
where he did more work part-time than anyone whom Paul Hoffman 
could get to work full-time; simultaneously he was a consultant to 
the State and Army Departments, as well as to the National Security 
Resources Board and — because he was one of the pioneers in adapting 
atomic energy to electric power — to the Atomic Energy Commission. 
At Detroit Edison, meanwhile, he was in the midst of a $300-million 
expansion program, and was actively engaged in reshaping the organi- 
zational structure of the corporation itself. 

Cisler was not spreading himself thin. The important fact about 
his activities was his demonstration of certain basic abilities that are, 
in varying degree, typical of almost all managers of large companies. 
One of these abilities involves complete, confident, and exact use of 
past experience: something quite the opposite of the common human 
habit of mental pigeonholing of diverse activities. Cisler's main aim, 
for instance, has always been to keep electric power capacity in pace 
with the needs of industry; his many activities, whether they involve 
lignite power plants in Greece or personnel programs in Detroit, are 
tied closely together, with each separate fact in precise relation to all 
others. His total experience — like that of many other executives — can 
thus be brought to bear on a given problem of business with apparent 

Leading without appearing to lead is another trait basic to execu- 
tive ability. The effective manager avoids shouts and shoves, limiting 
himself to suggestions. The bigger his suggestions, in fact, the calmer 
are his methods of presenting them. The interest of other executives 
is quickened; they fall to work of their own will, often without being 

Management Man; Who He Is and Who He Isnt 83 

aware that they are following another man's lead. In the case of 
Walker Cisler, this ability has been called ''extreme leadership and 
conservative manner.'' Cisler is in the habit of moving with remark- 
able directness and speed outside established channels of business or 
government, either stretching red tape or cutting it — all with so little 
fuss or friction that the speed does not seem remarkable, and col- 
leagues find themselves inclined to keep pace. 

A third ability probably underlies the other two: an ability to see 
the person-to-person relationships that are the basis of economic or 
any other activity and to take a straightforward interest in people as 
people. The key words in Cisler's business philosophy are similar to 
those of many other managers, ''willingness and mutuality: going 
more than halfway to meet the other fellow." Corporation executives 
have, in fact, emphasized "interest in people" until the phrase has 
practically become banal. Their interest, however, is intense. Business 
activity today is so much a group performance that a sincere interest 
in other persons may perhaps be the root capacity that makes top 
managers inconspicuously effective in leadership and unhesitatingly 
certain in the use of their experience. 

In sum, the psychological drives that produce such abilities are 
strictly beyond causal explanation of the type given by traditional eco- 
nomic theory. If there is self-interest, it can be neither defined nor 
measured in the old terms of power or money. Taking responsibility is 
essential to anyone who directs activities of a large corporation, but 
displaying power is detrimental. As for money, there is — compara- 
tively speaking — no longer much of it. Detroit Edison, for instance, 
pays its president only $85,000 before taxes. It may well be that the 
urge that leads businessmen to top jobs is simply the desire to exer- 
cise the particular abilities that are becoming more and more essential 
in carrying out the complex and intertwined activities of modern big 
companies. The urge, in short, may be a professional one. The tycoons 
have all but disappeared; the Cislers are replacing them. This altera- 
tion provides an additional argument that the large corporation is in- 
deed a new institution that cannot be fully explored in terms of Classi- 
cal economics. As a new institution, moreover, the large corporation 
perpetuates many of the basic economic drives which characterize 
most U.S. history but which have never been fully explicable in terms 
of formal logic and theory. 

84 The New Manager 


The ideas formulated above are drawn from conversations with 
several hundred managers. To check these ideas, Fortune undertook 
an examination of the backgrounds and characteristics of the nine 
hundred top executives of U.S. industry in the two hundred fifty 
largest industrial companies (selected on the basis of sales), the 
twenty-five largest railroads, and the twenty-five largest utilities. (Esti- 
mated 1952 sales for all the companies were nearly $150 bilhon.) The 
names, positions, and salaries of the three highest-paid men in each 
company were secured from the data required by the Securities and 
Exchange Commission. Letters, telegrams, and phone calls were then 
directed to these nine hundred men until each one (or his represen- 
tative) reported, refused to report, or repeatedly failed to refuse or to 
report. Refusals and failures totaled only one hundred forty-four, and 
of this number there was information in ready reference volumes for 
all but sixty-eight. The resulting picture is not a sample but almost a 
complete report. The statistics make it possible to speak not merely 
of nine hundred persons who happen to be executives, but of a group 
of men in sixteen industries who may be called the Nine Hundred: 
men of observable business habits, characteristics, and experiences. 
Fortune's investigation was necessarily limited to outward facts, but 
an analysis of these facts reveals much about the nature of the man- 
ager's motivations. 

The typical representative of the Nine Hundred was the son of 
a businessman and was born in either the Middle West or the East. 
He had four years of college, during which time he concentrated on 
business and science. After school he worked for one company before 
he joined his present corporation, which hired him while he was still 
in his twenties, and which he has now served for nearly thirty years. 
The chances are that he started in some sort of clerical or administra- 
tive work. Today between fifty and sixty, he has held his present posi- 
tion only six years. His compensation, hardly a princely sum, falls be- 
tween $70,000 and $80,000 before taxes, although if he is chief 
executive officer he gets $30,000 more.* This relatively minor differ- 

* The range of compensation is wide. One hundred eighty-two men get less than 
$50,000, thirty-six of that number less than $25,000. Seventy-one enjoy more than 
$170,000, eleven of that number more than $350,000. Compensation after taxes on 
incomes between $25,000 and $350,000 varies, however, within the considerably 
narrower range of $18,884 to $83,888 at current rates. 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 85 

ence in income is the only statistically significant fact that differenti- 
ates chief executives from other managers. 

Typically, the upcoming executive goes to work for his present 
company while he is in his twenties — in only three industries out of 
sixteen were managers-to-be hired in their thirties — and he confines 
his career to his company. (In only two of sixteen industries has the 
typical executive worked for as many as two other companies.) 

Something exists that might be labeled ''managerial man." Fur- 
thermore, there are lines within the picture of this man that are sharp 
enough to delineate a shift in business behavior from old to new pat- 
terns. It has already been suggested that the modern corporation is 
becoming more and more subject to group management, and is plac- 
ing strong emphasis on the development of new products and proc- 
esses that will create new markets and new capital in the future. It is 
therefore significant that managerial man, as revealed by statistics, 
most closely resembles executives from enterprises in which the new 
manner of group developmental enterprise predominates — e.g., chemi- 
cals and oil — and that he less closely resembles executives from slower- 
to-change industries — e.g., textiles and steel. As a group, younger man- 
agers resemble such executives much more markedly than do older 

The younger and older men differ even in regard to their school- 
ing. The younger men were a degree more interested in the liberal 
arts, business, and economics, a degree less enthralled by the wonders 
of science and engineering than were men ten or twenty years their 
senior. Although the bright young men got their first jobs in produc- 
tion almost in the same proportion as the older men did, the former 
reflected in some measure an interest in the over-all management and 
the social problems of big companies — in particular, the problem of 
distribution. Since this interest was typical of the country at the time 
of their education, the young men were obviously alert to shifts in the 
climate of opinion. They neither rushed out to embrace new ideas 
nor hung back to avoid them; they were simply open to them — just 
as their elders were receptive to science and engineering, the challeng- 
ing fields during the time of their education. The shift in educational 
emphasis among the managers is directly related to a contemporary 
shift among college graduates generally. It may well be, therefore, that 
alertness and receptivity are more important characteristics of the 
modern top executives than is the type of education received. 

Apart from men imported directly into executive jobs (oldsters 

86 The New Manager 

in the main), the Nine Hundred formula for getting a start can be 
expressed in a numerical order of opportunities. Roughly one man 
in twenty started in law, another man in twenty in finance. One man 
in fourteen first worked in engineering, one in ten in sales. About one 
in six began in production, but nearly one in four went into adminis- 
trative work, often clerical. From this pattern of starting jobs, however, 
the Nine Hundred moved up through a job pattern somewhat differ- 
ent. One in twelve of the men went on in law, one in ten in engineer- 
ing and research, one in six advanced through general management, 
and one in six through finance (a frequency considerably higher than 
the one in twenty who started in that field) . Meanwhile one executive 
in four was climbing the sales ladder, and one in four was settling 
down in production. 

The big increase in chances went to the salesmen. The younger 
men, in particular, acted on a preference for sales as a starting job; 
they took such jobs as starters three times oftener than did men in the 
older group and most of them stayed there, being joined by men who 
started elsewhere. For more than one in three of the youngsters, com- 
pared with one in eight of the oldsters, his sales job was the job that 
led to the top. 

This difference between generations suggests the growing com- 
plexity of the three hundred corporations and the necessity of having 
them managed by men who are not narrow specialists. Many special- 
ists in law or finance or engineering have indeed reached top positions, 
but they have done so probably because they have possessed peculiar 
abilities in experience, leadership, and personal relationships — abilities 
developed more easily by alert sales executives and other nonspecial- 
ists. The transition from old-style to new-style management appears 
to have been essentially a salesman's job. 


Mobility of employment is low. The typical manager worked for 
one other company before he came to work for his present company. 
His middle position is flanked by that of a third of the managers who 
worked for no other company and by that of two-fifths who worked 
for two or more. Thirty-two per cent of the managers were hired 
directly into executive positions — an indication that a sizable minority 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 87 

of the Nine Hundred has circulated freely — but this minority was 
composed largely of older managers. 

The circulation is low in chemical, oil, pulp and paper, retail 
sales, food, and building-material companies. It is comparatively low 
even in railroading, despite the mobility that crack railroad men 
achieve late in their careers. The circulation is relatively large in the 
steel industry, 60 per cent of whose executives have previously worked 
for two or more companies, 45 per cent for three or more, 30 per 
cent for four or more. Nearly half of the top steel executives were im- 
ported into their jobs when they were forty or older. Circulation is 
almost as great in aircraft (probably because of the industry's new- 
ness) and in textiles (probably because of that industry's oldness). 
Executives circulated moderately in the auto and auto-parts industries 
and in such miscellaneous industries as liquor and television. 

Steel, aircraft, textiles, auto and auto parts, and miscellaneous 
industries — here a market for managerial talent still exists in some 
measure, and in these industries talent has a dollar value apart from 
conscious decision on the part of managers themselves. But these in- 
dustries are the only ones in which a market for talent is active at all, 
and even among them it seems to be becoming less active. Forty per 
cent of the older executives were hired to top jobs, but only a quarter 
of the younger men were so hired. Most of the young executives 
have moved up in the companies they first started to work for; of the 
ones who have been brought in from the outside — usually in down- 
the-line jobs — most have worked for only one other company. This 
circulation is clearly insufficient to create a true market in managers. 
Managers, it is evident, are closely tied to their own companies. 

It is likely that the age of tomorrow's managerial man will be 
lower, his education longer and broader. He may be able to switch 
from one company to another, but he will not be able to count on the 
chance to switch. He will have relatively little specialized training. The 
abilities that make him a manager will be hard to perceive, for they 
will be those that make for success in uniting the thoughts of many 
minds and in contemplating and estimating with some degree of ac- 
curacy the social impact of a large enterprise. 

Where will such a man come from? The fathers of most of to- 
day's executives were men who lived in the rough and tumble of a 
market, whether that market was retail goods or company managers. 
But 26 per cent of the Nine Hundred executives who in 1952 were 

88 The New Manager 

less than fifty are sons of men who were founders or executives of 
companies. Fathers of an additional 15 per cent were professional 
men. (Few fathers were farmers, none politicians.) The new members 
of the Nine Hundred are tending to come from economically com- 
fortable families. The selectivity of the market that operated at least 
upon the grandfathers of the younger men is ceasing to be a fact of 
big company behavior. The tranquil family, indeed, may be the final 
symbol of the new type of enterprise and of the new style of man- 
ager: a man who has intangible abilities instead of special skills — 
who follows a profession instead of doing business. 


The emergence of professional management cannot be accounted 
for by the theories of the Classical school of economics or, for that 
matter, by the hypotheses of any school. The break with past theory 
is deep and sharp — no vague talk about capitalism and the profit mo- 
tive can hide the cleavage. The managers who are truly under pressure 
to maximize profits are the heads of the Russian communist firms; 
propelled by obvious and grim self-interest, they are given large boun- 
ties when they meet their quotas, but demoted or even liquidated 
when output falls short. American managers, by contrast, are impelled 
by no direct pressures; at each year's end they do not face the alterna- 
tives of the carrot and the stick; even so, they keep their vast and in- 
tricate organizations efl&cient, healthy, and profitable. 

Many are the changes and great is the distance traveled since the 
days of Adam Smith: the change in size from small concerns to large 
companies, the change in activity from shrewd buying and selling in 
the market place to stimulating production and decreasing price, the 
change in purpose from purely business objectives to broad social 
values that are unmeasurable and to responsibilities that are intan- 
gible, the change in attitude from passive response to economic forces 
to the active creation of such forces, and, above all, the change in 
motivation from something simple and understood to something com- 
plex and puzzling — how far do these changes take the large corpora- 
tion from the great and basic propositions of Adam Smith! However 
it is adjusted and revised, his central proposition — the rational maxi- 
mizing of profits in the market place produces the common good — 

Management Man; Who He Is and Who He Isnt 89 

does not reveal the complex behavior of the large American enterprise. 

But that proposition did not reveal all the facts of pre-industrial 
American business either; rational behavior and the common good 
were then thought to be all very well, but maximizing profits was not 
thought to be quite right. Profit maximization helped describe U.S. 
industry during its fevered surge of growth after the Civil War, but 
rationality certainly was no description of that age of business chaos. 
Rationality did describe the period of change-over after the Sherman 
Act, but the rationality was dynamic and was exercised as often as not 
in places other than the market place. For all the penetration of the 
great British economists, their observations, assumptions, and theories 
fit the history of business in Britain more closely than they do that of 
business in the U.S. 

In the light of Classical theory, the large U.S. corporation is in- 
deed new. Compared with older forms of American enterprise, it is 
new in appearance. But its motivations are not new to American his- 
tory. In the large corporation there is the optimism of settlers in a 
new land who saw bounty instead of scarcity. There are the Puritan 
will to success, the Quaker concern for responsible service, the com- 
mon preoccupation with what is right. There are the cooperation, the 
equality, the gusto, the tumult of the frontier. There are the boyish 
enthusiasm for growing things where things never grew before, and the 
zest for surmounting obstacles. There are the frank indifference to ab- 
stract theory and the ready urge to experiment. There is, in short, a 
continuity of the psychological motives that have helped make the 
large corporation a genuinely and uniquely American creation. 

It may be, therefore, that the Classical economic theories laid 
down as if they were eternal laws are in fact ephemeral. Certainly the 
modern large corporation needs theory. That need can perhaps be met 
by an examination of the actual behavior of actual companies; it can- 
not be met by an attempt to adjust facts to theories or theories to facts 
— or by the pigeonholing of facts and theories in familiar, intellectual 



Bernard DeVoto called it The Hour. It was, he ielt, the 
most civilized part oi the day and here for a change oi pace, 
we oSei an off -heat picture of management life and its future 
as glanced at during the cocktail hour. In this amusing story 
by E.B. White, the cocktail hour reveals a spirited picture of 
tomorrow. As you speculate on this adventure, let us remind 
you of two recent surveys. The Erst was conducted by that 
indefatigable researcher, David Riesman, Robert J. Potter of 
the University of Michigan's Flint College, Jeanne Watson, 
a private researcher, and six anonymous researchers. At the 
end of a study of four years and who knows how many 
martinis, these sociologists determined that the host of every 
cocktail party has joined the lonely crowd: he has vanished 
from his own cocktail party. In our equalitarian society it is 
not fashionable to be a symbol of authority, and so we get 
the abdication of the host who mills around his own living 
room — a lost soul looking for a reiill for his psyche. 

Because the host is no longer an authoritative Bgure in 
the home, the anxiety and lack of direction that this creates 
at parties turns even the brightest people mute and even the 
happiest people dull and anxious. Nothing, alas, is sacred any 
more. Even the cocktail party is probed, analyzed, and sur- 
veyed; that perhaps is one of the saddest aspects of our man- 
agement age. We will have far more surveys in the days to 

* From: The Second Tree from the Corner (New York: Harper 
& Brothers) 1951. 


92 The Hour of Letdown 

come and the reasons are inherent in this wonderful story 
oi Mr. White's. 

The host who vanished horn his own cocktail party is 
obviously at Mr. White's bar. He is probably shaken up by 
the survey conducted by the Carnegie Tech Graduate School 
oi Industrial Administration. That one explored changes that 
would happen to management and corporations as far ahead 
as J 895. The results exceeded George Orwell's pessimistic 
predictions. The discussion was lively and it centered around 
, corporation Hie and speciEcally the management oi the cor- 

poration. Proiessor Herbert A. Simon advanced the idea that 
many management iunctions will be programmed and per- 
formed by computers. Middle management in particular 
would feel the oily breath oi mechanical man breathing down 
his neck. On page 411, in the article entitled ''Management 
in the 1980' s," you will End a learned analysis oi these years 
to come. In the meantime, it might be a wiser move to put 
one's ieet up, have a martini, and consider ''the hour oi 
letdown" and those years oi automation. 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isnt 93 


hen the man came in, carrying the machine, most 
of us looked up from our drinks, because we had 
never seen anything hke it before. The man set the thing down on 
top of the bar near the beerpulls. It took up an ungodly amount of 
room and you could see the bartender didn't like it any too well, hav- 
ing this big, ugly-looking gadget parked right there. 

''Two rye-and-water," the man said. 

The bartender went on puddling an Old-Fashioned that he was 
working on, but he was obviously turning over the request in his mind. 

"You want a double?" he asked, after a bit. 

''No,'' said the man. "Two rye-and-water, please." He stared 
straight at the bartender, not exactly unfriendly but on the other hand 
not affirmatively friendly. 

Many years of catering to the kind of people that come into 
saloons had provided the bartender with an adjustable mind. Never- 
theless, he did not adjust readily to this fellow, and he did not like 
the machine — that was sure. He picked up a live cigarette that was 
idling on the edge of the cash register, took a drag out of it, and re- 
turned it thoughtfully. Then he poured two shots of rye whiskey, drew 
two glasses of water, and shoved the drinks in front of the man. People 
were watching. When something a little out of the ordinary takes 
place at a bar, the sense of it spreads quickly all along the line and 
pulls the customers together. 

The man gave no sign of being the center of attention. He laid 
a five dollar bill down on the bar. Then he drank one of the ryes and 
chased it with water. He picked up the other rye, opened a small vent 
in the machine (it was like an oil cup) and poured the whiskey in, 
and then poured the water in. 

The bartender watched grimly. "Not funny," he said in an even 
voice. "And furthermore, your companion takes up too much room. 
Why'n you put it over on that bench by the door, make more room 

"There's plenty of room for everyone here," replied the man. 

"I ain't amused," said the bartender. "Put the goddam thing 
over near the door like I say. Nobody will touch it." 

94 The Hour oi Letdown 

The man smiled. 'Tou should have seen it this afternoon/' he 
said. ''It was magnificent. Today was the third day of the tournament. 
Imagine it — three days of continuous brainwork! And against the top 
players in the country^ too. Early in the game it gained an advantage; 
then for two hours it exploited the advantage brilliantly, ending with 
the opponent's king backed in a corner. The sudden capture of a 
knight, the neutralization of a bishop, and it was all over. You know 
how much money it won, all told, in three days of playing chess?" 

''How much?" asked the bartender. 

"Five thousand dollars," said the man. "Now it wants to let 
down, wants to get a little drunk." 

The bartender ran his towel vaguely over some wet spots. "Take 
it somewhere else and get it drunk there!" he said firmly. "I got 
enough troubles." 

The man shook his head and smiled. "No, we like it here." He 
pointed at the empty glasses. "Do this again, will you, please?" 

The bartender slowly shook his head. He seemed dazed but 
dogged. "You stow the thing away," he ordered. "Fm not ladling 
out whiskey for jokestersmiths." 

"Jokesmiths," said the machine. "The word is 'jokesmith.' " 

A few feet down the bar, a customer who was on his third high- 
ball seemed ready to participate in this conversation to which we had 
all been listening so attentively. He was a middle-aged man. His 
necktie was pulled down away from his collar, and he had eased the 
collar by unbuttoning it. He had pretty nearly finished his third 
drink, and the alcohol tended to make him throw his support in with 
the underprivileged and the thirsty. 

"If the machine wants another drink, give it another drink," he 
said to the bartender. "Let's not have haggling." 

The fellow with the machine turned to his new-found friend and 
gravely raised his hand to his temple, giving him a salute of gratitude 
and fellowship. He addressed his next remark to him, as though 
deliberately snubbing the bartender. 

"You know how it is when you're all fagged out mentally, how 
you want a drink?" 

"Certainly do," replied the friend. "Most natural thing in the 

There was a stir all along the bar, some seeming to side with the 
bartender, others with the machine group. A tall, gloomy man stand- 
ing next to me spoke up. 

Management Man: Who He Is and Who He Isn't 95 

''Another whiskey sour, Bill/' he said. ''And go easy on the 
lemon juice." 

"Picric acid/' said the machine, sullenly. "They don't use lemon 
juice in these places." 

"That does it!" said the bartender, smacking his hand on the bar. 
"Will you put that thing away or else beat it out of here. I ain't in 
the mood, I tell you. I got this saloon to run and I don't want lip from 
a mechanical brain or whatever the hell you've got there." 

The man ignored this ultimatum. He addressed his friend, whose 
glass was now empty. 

"It's not just that it's all tuckered out after three days of chess," 
he said amiably. "You know another reason it wants a drink?" 

"No," said the friend. "Why?" 

"It cheated," said the man. 

At this remark, the machine chuckled. One of its arms dipped 
slightly, and a light glowed in a dial. 

The friend frowned. He looked as though his dignity had been 
hurt, as though his trust had been misplaced. "Nobody can cheat at 
chess," he said. "Simpossible. In chess, everything is open and above 
board. The nature of the game of chess is such that cheating is impos- 

"That's what I used to think, too," said the man. "But there 
is a way." 

"Well, it doesn't surprise me any," put in the bartender. "The 
first time I laid my eyes on that crummy thing I spotted it for a 

"Two rye-and-water," said the man. 

"You can't have the whiskey," said the bartender. He glared 
at the mechanical brain. "How do I know it ain't drunk already?" 

"That's simple. Ask it something," said the man. 

The customers shifted and stared into the mirror. We were all 
in this thing now, up to our necks. We waited. It was the bartender's 

"Ask it what? Such as?" said the bartender. 

"Makes no difference. Pick a couple big figures, ask it to multiply 
them together. You couldn't multiply big figures together if you were 
drunk, could you?" 

The machine shook slightly, as though making internal prepara- 

"Ten thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, multiply it by 

96 The Hour of Letdown 

ninety-nine/' said the bartender, viciously. We could tell that he was 
throwing in the two nines to make it hard. 

The machine flickered. One of its tubes spat, and a hand changed 
position, jerkily. 

''One million seventy-five thousand three hundred and thirty- 
eight/' said the machine. 

Not a glass was raised all along the bar. People just stared gloom- 
ily into the mirror; some of us studied our own faces, others took 
carom shots at the man and the machine. 

Finally, a youngish, mathematically minded customer got out a 
piece of paper and a pencil and went into retirement. ''It works out," 
he reported, after some minutes of calculating. "You can't say the 
machine is drunk!" 

Everyone now glared at the bartender. Reluctantly he poured 
two shots of rye, drew two glasses of water. The man drank his drink. 
Then he fed the machine its drink. The machine's light grew fainter. 
One of its cranky little arms wilted. 

For a while the saloon simmered along like a ship at sea in calm 
weather. Every one of us seemed to be trying to digest the situation, 
with the help of liquor. Quite a few glasses were refilled. Most of us 
sought help in the mirror — the court of last appeal. 

The fellow with the unbuttoned collar settled his score. He 
walked stiffly over and stood between the man and the machine. He 
put one arm around the man, the other arm around the machine. 
"Let's get out of here and go to a good place," he said. 

The machine glowed slightly. It seemed to be a little drunk now. 

"All right," said the man. "That suits me fine. I've got my car 

He settled for the drinks and put down a tip. Quietly and a trifle 
uncertainly he tucked the machine under his arm, and he and his 
companion of the night walked to the door and out into the street. 

The bartender stared fixedly, then resumed his light housekeep- 
ing. "So he's got his car outside," he said, with heavy sarcasm. "Now 
isn't that nice!" 

A customer at the end of the bar near the door left his drink, 
stepped to the window, parted the curtains, and looked out. He 
watched for a moment, then returned to his place and addressed the 
bartender. "It's even nicer than you think," he said. "It's a Cadillac. 
And which one of the three of them d'ya think is doing the driving?" 



How He Works 



To his cieditf Oshoin Elliott has always considered that 
the men at the top of American management were human 
beings. Leadership is a fascinating subject — and a mysterious 
one, judging by a fascinating survey at Michigan State Uni- 
versity in which leaders were compared with non-leaders. 
Arrogance and cockiness were unusual in a leader, but they 
were nuisance attributes in the character of non-leaders. The 
non-leader nearly always tended to exaggerate his or her own 
assets more than the real leaders did. The non-leader stated 
that he always worked hard all the time, always got the job 
done, always was successful in getting other people to follow 
him and was quite capable of evaluating his or her own good 
and bad points. But surety, aJas, is not always grounds for 
success. The leaders were much less sure of themselves, but 
two characteristics did stand out with the leaders analyzed. 
They put the welfare of the group above the welfare of any 
individual member — and in this age of adjustment and con- 
formity they did not think it was part of their job to help 
members adjust to the group. 

Osborn Elliott, now the managing editor of Newsweek 
magazine, has an intimate knowledge of the leaders of Amer- 
ican business. He was first a reporter for the New York 
Journal of Commerce, where the ins and outs of big business 
were consistently revealed to him. He wrote more than a 
dozen cover stories on American businessmen for Time maga- 

* From: Men at the Top (New York: Harper & Brothers) 1950. 


J 00 Men at Work 

zinCy and his gift oi swiit portraiture is obvious in Men at 

Adolf Berle pointed out in the Twentieth Century Capital- 
ist Revolution, 'The corporation, almost against its wiJJ, has 
been compelled to assume in appreciable part the lole of 
conscience carrier for twentieth century American society." 
The men that Mr. Elliott has interviewed so intimately are 
well aware of their responsibilities and where they begin. 
One thing stands out about the manager at the top: he does 
not belabor himself for past mistakes. He has an enormous 
capacity for work, one of the qualities of the mavericks, ty- 
coons, robber barons, and old captains of industry. He is also 
a true individual. It would appear that top management is 
far more inner-directed {to use the language of The Lonely 
Crowd) than middle management. The gray flannel suit can 
always afford to be shiny when it sits in the right chair at the 
Board table. Unlike the man at the top, the organization 
man, whom we will meet on page US, is not nearly so 
original in dress, action, and thought 

Management Man: How He Works 101 

Boss: Where's my pencil? 

Secretary: Behind your ear. 

Boss: Damn it, woman, I'm a busy man. Which ear? 


rawford Greenewalt remembers exactly when the aw- 
ful realization dawned on him. It was soon after he 
had been elected president of du Pont, and he was on his way to 
Washington to address the National Press Club. 'There I was on the 
train with my speech clutched in my hand/' he says. ''Suddenly I 
thought, 'Dear God, what they think of the du Pont company de- 
pends on what they think of me.' I was petrified at the thought. Sud- 
denly you wake up to the fact that even on a plant visit people are 
wondering what the hell kind of a guy this is. You're always on 

The business of being always on parade does not bother many of 
the No. 1 men (Greenewalt included, by now). But the resultant de- 
mands on their time can be overwhelming. Almost from the moment 
they wake up in the morning to the moment they close their eyes at 
night, they are badgered by swarms of people who want something 
of them — dealers demanding fast delivery, distributors demanding 
bigger margins, suppliers demanding higher prices, customers de- 
manding lower prices, security analysts demanding information, char- 
ity leaders demanding money, to name just a few. 

Bell & Howell's president Percy, who has devoted a good part of 
the past few years to streamlining his presidential job, once painted 
this picture of the harried managerial day, as he used to find it: 

"The morning mail includes a request from the Chamber of 
Commerce for a speech on foreign trade, from a public service radio 
program for a talk on aid to education, from a service club for a talk on 
'The Social Responsibilities of the Industrialist.' A shareowner writes 
for information on dividend policy; a security analyst asks about antic- 
ipated earnings. A group of teachers wants to tour the plant and ex- 
change ideas with company executives. 

"The phone rings steadily. A distributor in Holland calls about 

102 Men at Work 

a new Trade Fair. An irate customer can't get service in Mule Shoe, 
Texas. A key dealer calls frantically about a fair trade violation. 

''More mail: A distributor from Thailand announces an im- 
pending visit. A key dealer suggests cooperative advertising . . . 'but 
keep up your full schedule of national advertising.' 

"Meetings: A civic lunch for Project B (the host had come to 
your luncheon for Project A). Back to the plant for a Budget Board 
meeting. Review a new product release. Turn down gracefully (im- 
possible! ) a request to introduce a friend to the Director of Purchases; 
discuss two new appointments in the Manufacturing Division and a 
major capital equipment acquisition. Write a column (due yester- 
day) for the employee newspaper. 

"End of the day. Into the brief case goes the balance of the day's 
mail (or yesterday's) along with reading matter marked 'must.' " 

This race against the clock is made necessary by the fact that the 
head of a company must keep up a cheerful public relations front, and 
appear to have time for almost anything that may come up or anyone 
who may drop by. "Either you're an s.o.b. for not seeing them," says 
a top tobacco man, "or you don't have enough time to do your job 
right." General Motors' chairman Donner complains: "My middle 
name is beck and call." 

For the top men, there is no such thing as a typical day. Monday 
there may be a board meeting, Tuesday an inspection of a plant a 
thousand miles away, Wednesday an industry convention somewhere 
else. And just as the boss is thinking that Thursday will give him a 
chance to catch up in the home ofEce, something will call him out of 
town again. Not long ago, Donner left his New York apartment 
one morning with a clear idea of just what he was going to do that 
day, starting with a physical exam from 9 to 10 a.m. But when he got 
to the office after the physical, "I found a telegram from Washington 
inviting General Motors to testify at hearings on a proposed new bill. 
So I was forced to fly to Detroit to work out the details" — whether 
or not G.M. should testify, and if so, who should say what. 

The result of this kind of pressure, of course, is long hours of 
overtime. The Young Presidents' Organization recently polled its 
members and found that they average fifty-three hours a week at work 
— not counting the time spent at home over a bulging brief case; many 
top executives put in sixty-two hours a week, and more. 

Still, the week isn't long enough. To make each hour measure 

Management Man: How He Works 103 

more than sixty minutes, the men at the top have worked out a series 
of time-saving techniques — ways to cut meetings short, and otherwise 
to hghten the load. Time-consuming committee meetings present two 
seemingly contradictory problems: First, how to get people to talk, 
and second, how to shut them up. On the first, a number of top men 
have been using what Harold B. Schmidhauser of the American 
Management Association dubbed the ''psychological minute" — a full 
minute of self-imposed silence after asking a question or stating a 
problem. Sixty seconds of quiet can seem like an eternity to the man 
who is running the meeting, but before the time is up someone is 
bound to begin talking and suggesting ideas, if only to break the 
embarrassing silence. 

But how to shut them up? This is of even more concern to the 
man whose time is his most valuable possession. Of this problem, 
former vice president Leland Hazard of Pittsburgh Plate Glass says: 
'The moment I find myself not listening carefully to the other person, 
I know it's time for me to take over. . . . The trick is to remain 
silent in the early stages of a meeting, but you can't wait too long. 
It's picking that moment when the articulate ones have had their say 
and the inarticulate ones have not yet made up their minds. In every 
conference there comes a moment when those who have not thought 
the matter out in advance will hesitate. In that moment, if you know 
what you want to do, do it." 

Different men have different approaches to the matter of saving 
time. Some will seize any and every opportunity to dash off some 
dictation — in their cars or planes or homes — believing that this is the 
high road to efficiency; others will not dictate at all, believing that it 
is a useless waste of time. Samuel S. Auchincloss, head of Tracerlab, 
says that "when I dictate I feel I say too much, too often (and so 
do a lot of people, in my opinion)." Chairman Eugene Holman of 
Standard Oil of New Jersey will dictate only "a very few letters, and 
only the briefest of memos. Staff people do most of the letter writing 
and the preparation of memos as well as the lengthy and burdensome 
reading." Similarly, president S. Clark Beise of the Bank of America 
avoids as much reading as possible; he will often skip to the last page 
of a report, to see what's being done. 

One of the most time-consuming, if gratifying, trends of recent 
years has been the development of increasingly good manners among 

104 Men at Work 

America's top men of business. There may have been a day when the 
top executive greeted visitors with a quick handshake from behind 
his desk, and a wave to a nearby chair. But no more. The standard 
technique now is for the boss to come out to meet a caller, and usher 
him politely into his ofHce. Chances are, the room resembles a living 
room more than an office, with the work area at one end and the talk 
area, complete with upholstered sofa and easy chairs and perhaps a 
wood-burning fireplace, at the other. 

The front office decor is as varied as the No. 1 men themselves. 
Columbia Broadcasting System's chairman William S. Paley combines 
his love for art with his love for C.B.S. On the walls of his office high 
above New York's Madison Avenue hang sketches and paintings by 
such artists as Rouault, Picasso, Watteau and Toulouse-Lautrec; but 
one side of the room is decorated entirely with ancient microphones 
bearing the call letters of C.B.S. radio stations. To decorate his office 
on Broadway, G.M.'s Donner chose a young master: Holding the 
place of honor on the chairman's wall is a misty harbor scene, painted 
by his son. Lever Brothers' former boss, architect Charles Luckman, 
uses his soft green Los Angeles office as a fine showplace to display 
his collection of antique brass mortars and pestles, brass figurines and 
other ornaments. Luckman, incidentally, works at what may be the 
most unusual desk in the country — an old rosewood piano, bleached 
and remodeled, whose massive legs sink ankle-deep into the rug. 

A few of the top executives have done away with the desk 
altogether, using a coffee table and a telephone stand instead. Many 
sit at a plain table, with not a paper in sight (chairman Frank Pace of 
General Dynamics even keeps his telephone tucked away in a drawer) . 
'*If you put a desk between you and the other fellow," Pittsburgh 
Plate Glass's Leland Hazard once explained, ''he feels your business 
is in the desk. But if you have just a table, he feels your business is 
with him." (Not surprisingly, Hazard used a slab of Pittsburgh plate 
glass for his table.) 

The trouble with this kind of gracious office living is that it puts 
the caller into such a relaxed mood that he tends to sit around, passing 
the time of day and wasting the time of the boss. But there are ways 
to keep the flow moving. Edgar Row, vice president of Chrysler, used 
to keep his office temperature at a cool 55 degrees to discourage any 
loitering. The Glidden Co.'s president Dwight Joyce has a five -minute 
rule, which he often invokes: After a visitor's time is up, Joyce's 
secretary will come in to remind him of another appointment. Just 

Management Man: How He Works J 05 

as effective, if not quite so urbane, was the technique used by K. T. 
Keller when he ran the affairs of Chrysler. Whenever Keller found 
visitors tiresome, ''I just told them they didn't have enough facts to 
interest me and suggested they return when they did." 

Because of the endless stream of visitors, telephone calls, and 
other bothersome interruptions in the ofhce, many of the top men 
actually welcome travel; it gives them a chance to catch up on their 
business reading and other matters they may have let slip — and it 
gives them time to think. Owens-Illinois's chairman }. P. Levis, who 
spends about a quarter of his time traveling, says: "I find that much 
more constructive work can be done away from my home office than 
in it. When I am traveling, I find that I have a much better perspec- 
tive of the business and more opportunity to think about it and 
observe it." 

There was a story that made the rounds a few years ago about a 
top executive who returned from an extended business trip in Mexico. 
When he got home, he dashed into his little son's room and threw 
open his arms for the grand reunion. The child just stared at him, 
without a flicker of recognition. ''If you go to Mexico," he said 
blankly, ''you can see my daddy." The story may be apocryphal, but 
in view of the amount of traveling the No. 1 men do in the course of 
a year, it is not impossible. Forty thousand miles is the figure for 
United Aircraft's chairman H. Mansfield Horner; 100,000 miles for 
General Electric's president Robert Paxton, a figure matched by 
Textron's Royal Little. Blaw-Knox president W. Cordes Snyder Jr. 
racks up the equivalent of five times around the world. 

As might be expected, one of the most far-ranging travelers is 
world-wide builder Edgar Kaiser, who thinks nothing of popping off 
to Australia one week, and India the next. "I'm a trouble-shooter," 
says Kaiser. "I go where there's a problem and something's got to be 
done." In one recent twelve-month period, there were so many prob- 
lems that Kaiser made no fewer than thirteen overseas trips. He went 
five times to Australia, twice to England and once each to India, 
Ghana and Iran, to name a few. 

But as General Telephone & Electronics' chairman Donald 
Power points out, the nature of a top man's job is such that it 
shouldn't really matter where he is at any given moment; he can 
work just as effectively wherever he happens to be. J. P. Levis quite 
agrees: "Some of the most constructive ideas that one gets can be 
while shaving, or visiting with people socially, or even in the duck 

J 06 Men at Work 

blind or on the fishing stream. To put it briefly, a business executive's 
mind is never far off from his business problems." 

Previously, we looked in on Cleveland's Dwight Joyce, getting 
up every morning at five-thirty and spending two hours thinking 
about himself, his business, and the world. Joyce may feel alone 
in those early-morning hours, but all over the country he could find 
company among other men at the top. Litton Industries' Tex Thorn- 
ton often is up at five, and sometimes at four. (Working as he does 
on the West Coast, he is sometimes on the phone to New York by 
six. ) In his home outside Chicago, Illinois Central's president Wayne 
Johnston is up every morning at five-thirty or earlier. One day not 
long ago, worrying over what to do about his executives' salaries for 
the next year, Johnston got up at four, went into the study adjoining 
his bedroom and spent two hours figuring it all out while his wife 
slept on. Johnston has breakfast every morning at six-fifteen, walks to 
the station (he has it clocked at exactly fourteen minutes), and is in 
his office downtown by seven-thirty. 

No one is a more dedicated member of the dawn patrol than 
Mills Lane, the off-beat banker from Atlanta. ''I get up at 5 a.m. 
every day," he says. ''I smoke a pack of cigarettes and drink a pot of 
coffee — and I muse. If I ain't got a project to think about I'm not 
happy." Lane's projects range from new homes for children suffering 
from cerebral palsy (his own daughter is a victim of the disease), to a 
new investment club he recently set up for three of his friends — the 
manager and the cook of Atlanta's posh Piedmont Driving Club, and 
a local cop. One December morning. Lane got to thinking it would 
be nice to draw up a family genealogy and give it to his *'kinfolk" for 
Christmas. But the list grew so long he never finished. He waves a 
sheaf of papers and says: ''Look at all my goddamn kinfolk! Twenty 
pages of 'em!" 

But mostly, when Lane muses in the early-morning hours, he 
thinks about his Citizens & Southern Bank. '1 take a statement of 
condition and spread it out in front of me," he says, ''and when I look 
at those figures I can see every department and every person in the 
bank. I just let my mind wander." 

What does the top man's job really consist of? 
"No one man, or two or three men," says Sinclair Oil's chairman 
P. C. Spencer, "can possibly know and run an enterprise as large as 

Management Man: How He Works 107 

ours." Thus, the boss has to select certain functions and concentrate 
on them. Some managers, hke Edgar Kaiser, consider themselves 
trouble-shooters. Atlanta retailer Richard Rich, for example, thinks 
that ''top management should free itself and devote its time to 'excep- 
tion' management. Don't pay attention to what's running right, but 
to what isn't running right." In the same way, C.B.S. chairman 
William Paley says: "I don't look at television shows that are out 
of trouble." 

To keep himself on the right track, I.B.M.'s Tom Watson keeps 
a list of things that he should be concentrating on, and glances at it 
from time to time during the day. The list can range from the smallest 
detail to the broadest company policy. On the Watson docket recently, 
for example, was a note reminding him: " 'Will' in staff memos." 
(Watson had discovered that too many of the memos sent out by 
his staff officers to I.B.M.'s operating divisions included the command, 
"you will." The staff is supposed to advise, not command.) On the 
same day, there was listed a matter of long-range company policy: 
"Product development in Europe." ("Everything developed in our 
European plants," Watson explained, "seems to get pooh-poohed 
here, and if it goes on like this our European inventors are likely to 
get fed up and quit. They blame what they call an attitude of 'N.I.H.' 
— not invented here — so we've given them four or five small machines 
to develop on their own.") 

Most of the top men believe that their real job is to plan for the 
future, to get their organizations on a path that will keep them 
profitable and dynamic five, ten or twenty years from now. At first, 
says Erik Jonsson of Texas Instruments, "I think I wanted to prove 
myself. Then I got to institution building." General Electric's Ralph 
Cordiner likes to say that half his time is spent making decisions that 
won't take effect until after he is retired. 

Among the men who seem to have licked the problem of delegat- 
ing responsibility, perhaps the champion is president R. L. Minckler 
of General Petroleum in Los Angeles. "It used to be that all you saw 
of him were the bottoms of his feet, he was on the go so much," a 
friend recalls. "But now you can walk into his office at any time and 
find him with time on his hands." Minckler made three rules for 
himself: (1) Every night before he leaves the office, he writes down 
what he did that day that he will never have to do again — in other 
words, he lists the things he has now trained someone else to do; (2) 

JOS Men at Work 

he will never allow anything to be put on his calendar that must be 
done on a given day; and (3) he will never allow an emergency to 
arise that demands his presence. In the event of an earthquake or 
fire or some other disaster, Minckler knows that there are capable men 
who can handle the problem without him. He knows, because in 
planning for the future he has trained them to do so. 

Someone once said that the real test of delegation is for a man- 
ager to watch another man do something he thinks is wrong and not 
say anything about it; yet not every top executive has the kind of self- 
discipline required to sit back silently and watch. One after another, 
the bosses insist that they reserve to themselves only the decisions 
involving top policy, long-range planning and personnel. But since it 
is up to them to decide where operations end and policy begins, the 
line is sometimes flexible to the point of being nonexistent. It might 
be argued, in fact, that one of the functions the top executive should 
delegate is the job of deciding just where this line should be drawn. 

There is a case in point in the story of an oil company which 
decided a few years ago to change the corporate symbol on its filling 
stations, believing that the signs then being used were too drab and 
old-fashioned. The top man in the company named a three-man 
committee to select a new sign. 

First the committee tested a series of shapes on a panel of fifty 
consumers, to see which was best remembered. The winner was a 
trapezoid. Then the committee hired a color expert to work out a 
combination of shades with a tested "come hither" look. Next, there 
was the matter of a symbol. Should the company try to create an 
image, as some thought, of a ''friendly" firm? Or was its corporate 
image already too folksy, as others believed? At length, a symbol was 
chosen, the sign was put together, and testing began at filling stations 
in a number of key cities. The results seemed favorable, but months 
passed and nothing was decided. The reason was that the president of 
the company, who insists that he concerns himself only with ''over-all 
policy matters," simply did not like the sign. 

In the business of selling gasoline, it may be that such details are 
all-important. Certainly it is true in a service industry like transporta- 
tion. President Donald Nyrop of Northwest Airlines, who gets to his 
St. Paul office every day at seven-thirty, described to a visitor last year 
the kind of problems he has to deal with in the course of a day. They 
can range from new financing and labor relations to the smallest 

Manasement Man: How He Works 109 

details of aircraft decor. 'Testerday/' he said, ''we had to decide on 
the interiors that will go into our new Electras and DC-8 jets/' Nyrop 
moved to a table behind his desk and proudly showed off a stack of 
nylon fabrics, fondling the material that had been selected. 'The 
finest you can buy/' he said. American Airlines' president C. R. Smith 
keeps an equally sharp eye on the details of his operation, forever 
showing up unannounced to test the food and service on American 

Certain things simply cannot and should not be delegated, of 
course. One of these, in the opinion of Shell Oil's president H. S. M. 
Burns, is worry. If he is doing a good job, the boss cannot help being 
keyed up, says Burns, who developed an ulcer for his labors. There 
are the TV appearances, the interviews, the congressional hearings, 
the constant traveling. "Many of my friends try to avoid this kind of 
thing," says Burns. "You can't. It's part of your job. I tell them, don't 
avoid congressional investigations, don't send your lawyer, insist on 
going yourself. I fought a war of nerves with Kefauver for three days, 
and I won. An executive is a guy with ulcers. Work doesn't do it — he 
can delegate that. It's overworry, not overwork." As a sign on the desk 
of Harry Truman used to say: 'The buck ends here." 

Not that the top men worry about every decision they have to 
make; they simply haven't time. But when they make a mistake, they 
quickly try to compensate for it. The decisions that do worry the 
managers are those that have to do with people. "If it were just a 
physical matter it would be easy," says Harllee Branch, Jr., of the 
Southern Co. "But the human aspect is what drives you nuts. There's 
no absolute right or wrong; and you've got that horrible problem of a 
man's family — the innocent bystanders." 

What to do about the long-time, trusted employee who has 
started to drink? Should he be fired? If so, what about his wife and 
children? And is Jones the man to replace him, or should Smith get 
the nod? "When you make a mistake with a person," says banker 
Mills Lane, "there ain't no reserve you can charge it off against, and 
you can't forget it." In particular Lane cannot forget one individual 
whom he pushed too far too fast. The man didn't measure up to the 
responsibilities of his new job. He began to drink, and ended in a 
sanitarium. Was this Lane's fault? Lane thinks so. "I let him fly higher 
than he could roost," he says ruefully. 

This painful aspect of the top management job bothers even the 

I JO Men at Work 

toughest of the No. 1 men. "If you don't have some sentiment/' says 
Litton Industries' Tex Thornton, ''business becomes too coldly real- 
istic. But you can't let sentiment dominate. Sometimes, for cripe's 
sake, you've just got to cut." 

Such a cut had to be made some years ago in one large company, 
for a rather unusual reason. The firm was having trouble with a 
major department. A number of the key men were quitting, and the 
company was losing its historical share of the market as a result. When 
the president inspected, he found the reason: The department head 
was a homosexual. He was fired immediately, but it was years before 
the company got that key department built up again. 

Many of the men at the top have spent years as operating men, 
and think they will miss the excitement of getting things done them- 
selves when they switch to the job of getting others to do things for 
them. Yet they soon discover that however worrisome the human 
problems may be, it is in this area that they find their deepest sense of 
achievement. And while they sometimes get the feeling that the clock 
is gaining on them — or they can't remember which ear their pencil 
is behind — they love the race. 

Sitting behind a table-desk in his office in Burbank, Lockheed's 
intense chairman Robert Gross drums his fingers on the window sill, 
fidgets with a paper clip, and says: 'Tm amazed at the intensity with 
which we've all been working. The competition gets more and more 
intense. This business is changing so fast that we're all out struggling 
harder than ever before." But Gross has no desire to give up the 
struggle; he hasn't the faintest idea what he would do if he had to. 

Few men are farther apart, in manner, than Gross and General 
Motors' seemingly placid chairman Donner. Yet deep down, Donner 
seems to have the same sort of enthusiasm. He thinks about his job 
for a moment, swiveling full circle in the chair behind his desk. ''Busi- 
ness is a little like a battle," says Donner, who has made a hobby of 
reading up on the battles of the Civil War. "It's chaotic when you're 
in the midst of it. What most historians miss is the fact that battles 
are not fought through on any particular pattern." 

It is this lack of pattern, this variety, this unpredictability, that 
makes business fun for the No. I men. "I'd be unhappy as hell if I 
didn't do this," says Edgar Kaiser of his taxing, travel-heavy job. 
"I like what I do!" And it is precisely the same sense of ever-changing 

Management Man: How He Works 111 

fun and excitement that makes it so hard for the men at the top to 
call it quits and retire. 

True, there are a number who expect to be fully prepared to 
step down when retirement age rolls around. Ralph Cordiner, for 
example, has been planning for the day: "Fve been building a diver- 
sified cattle ranch on the West Coast of Florida. I hope this will 
prove so intriguing — and I think it will — that I won't want to come 
back.'' Cordiner, who turned fifty-nine in 1959, wants to retire before 
he is sixty-five — just as G.E.'s former chairman Philip Reed did 
before him. 'The saddest thing is when a man tries to keep up 
interest in his old job after he retires/' Cordiner says. 'That's why I 
want to be fifteen hundred miles away." At fifty-four Chrysler's Tex 
Colbert says he looks forward to traveling and renewing old friend- 
ships that have dropped by the wayside during his busy life. 

But most of the top men think of retirement, if they think of 
it at all, with a sense of foreboding; for many of them, retiring from 
business would be the same as retiring from life itself. ''I just can't 
imagine what I would do retired," says United Aircraft's H. M. 
Horner, now fifty-six. Nor can Lockheed's Robert Gross, who tells 
himself, but does not convince himself, that there are some things he 
would like to do: 'Td like to enjoy some of the things I haven't 
been able to. I've never spent any money, really. I'd like to have a 
boat, a couple of new cars, maybe build a new house or two." Then 
he admits: '1 don't have much to turn to when I retire." What would 
happen to Lockheed if Gross retired tomorrow? 'This place could 
get along without me, but I know that I'm the one person who has 
been driving for diversification and expansion. I think that if I gave 
up work this afternoon this program of reaching out into new fields 
might not go ahead as aggressively. This is my baby; I like to battle 
for it." 

The No. 1 men echo one another on the subject of retirement. "I 
am not waiting to retire," says seventy-one-year-old hotelman Conrad 
Hilton. "When the time comes, I will keep on working." Railroader 
Wayne Johnston, sixty-one: "I deplore the idea of retirement." Na- 
tional Gypsum's Melvin H. Baker, seventy-four: 'This business is my 
life. I have no intention of retiring in the foreseeable future." Clark 
Equipment's George Spatta, sixty-six: "I have a life contract with my 
company. I will never retire." 

For many who, unlike Spatta, do not have such a contract, 

112 Men at W oik 

directorships have served as a helpful transition into retirement; but 
the business of switching from an operating job to an advisory func- 
tion calls for a large measure of self-discipline. The board of Pacific 
Gas & Electric asked James Black to stay on as chief executive officer 
after he reached sixty-five, but he turned them down on the ground 
that ''people down the line want me to get the hell out." Instead, 
Black agreed to stay on as chairman, with no executive authority. He 
thinks it has worked out fine, and that he has managed to ''keep out 
of management's hair, but youVe got to discipline yourself to beat 
the band." (Black also serves on a number of other boards, and is 
called on to do a number of "spot" jobs in Washington from time 
to time.) 

Some executives move into consulting when they reach retire- 
ment age; others launch whole new careers. William E. Mitchell, 
former president of Georgia Power, was happily ensconced as president 
of the $7 million Atlanta Realty Go. when he turned seventy-five. "A 
retired man," he said, "should find some other interest to keep him 
busy so he won't go looking for a rocking chair." Sam Goldwyn, still 
hard at work at seventy-six, put it another way: "I find the longer you 
work, the longer you live." 

Probably the two most notable proofs of this truism are Frederick 
H. Ecker, who at ninety-one was still putting in a good deal of his 
time as honorary chairman of Metropolitan Life; and Alcoa's former 
boss Arthur Vining Davis, who at ninety-one was in the midst of 
building up a new and diversified empire in Florida, ranging from real 
estate and resorts to ice cream and transportation. 

With the average life span lengthening, a good deal more thought 
has been given, of late, to the problems of retirement. The labor 
unions have fought for, and in large measure won, the worker's right 
to a pension over and above the Social Security benefits he has paid 
for during his productive years. Retirement benefits of a financial 
nature have long been an established reward of executive work. What 
seems to be needed now, in view of the loudly bemoaned shortage of 
executive and directorial talent, is a way to retain the services and 
talents of industry's key men past retirement, without damping down 
the enthusiasm of the young bloods on their way to the top. 




As William H. Whyte, Ji.^ points out in his famous book, 
the organization man is by no means hmited to the business 
world. He is also the seminary student who will end up in 
the church hierarchy, the doctor headed ior the corporation 
clinic; he is the Ph.D. in the government laboratory, the in- 
tellectual on the foundation-sponsored team project, the en- 
gineering graduate in the huge drafting rooms of the airplane 
factories. He is the young apprentice in the Wall Street law 

The distinguished journalist, Eric Sevareid wrote during 
the Nixon-Kennedy election debates that the organization 
man had in effect taken over politics as he had taken over 
every other phase of human endeavor. The organization is 
used by many of us so that we can avoid meeting our ex- 
periences squarely as individuals. The exhilaration, excite- 
ment, and challenge of the world around us is perhaps just 
a little too much at times. We seek the robes of conformity 
and they are, of course, as useless as the Emperor's new 
clothes. ''Togetherness'' has become a catch word of our 
time, as Mr. Whyte analyzes it in the following selection. The 
"lonely crowd" dresses in gray flannel togetherness. 

In the conclusion of his book, Mr. Whyte urges us to Eght 

* From: The Organization Man (New York: Simon and Shuster, 
Inc.) 1956. 


114 Togetherness: Organization Man 

the organization. What we should really Gght are those quali- 
ties in ourselves that make us seek too much security, too 
much dullness, too much uniformity, too much overprotec- 
tion from the world around us. None of those things in this 
atomic age will really protect us. The organization is not one 
great survival shelter, in which we could all sit, tabulating 
surveys while the world disappears outside of that one hun- 
dred per cent solid concrete wall. It isn't life in a "crystal 
palace/' as Allen Harrington so aptly called it, hut life in the 
emotional shelter that we must steel ourselves against. 
(, Mr. Whyte's hook is one of the greatest sellers of our time. 

; J [ Obviously the words that he has had to say have made a 

deep impression upon the readers of America. Some, of 
course, quite to Mr. Whyte's dismay we are sure, bought the 
book to see if it supplied some secret as to how to get to the 
'-^ top. In one famous appendix Mr. White gives an extraor- 

dinary document which tells how to cheat on personality 
tests. But Mr. Whyte's book is much more, as he explores the 
ideology of the organization man; the training of the organi- 
zation man, the neurosis of the organization man; the test- 
ing of organization men, women, and children in the sub- 
urbs; the executive ego; friendship; the church, everything 
that is obvious in the world around us. Always he maintains 
- that there is a clash between the individual belief of what we 

are supposed to believe and the collective life that we 
actually do live. He asks how we can seek out that faith to 
bridge that gap. The mere recognition that that gap exists, 
r ■ of course, is the Erst step toward any faith. There is no such 

man so clearly catalogued, surveyed, and battened down in 
cotton wool as Mr. Whyte's organization man. However, 
more than any other writer on the social picture in the post 
World War II period, he made everybody take the phrase to 
heart. You, of course, are not an organization man; we, of 
course, are not organization men or women, but isnt it funny 
that our neighbors are? 

Management Man; How He Works US 


t is the organization man, then, more than the worker 
whom he wishes to serve, who most urgently wants to 
belong. His quest takes many forms; in this chapter I would like to 
examine the most concrete one: his growing preoccupation with group 
work. The group that he is trying to immerse himself in is not 
merely the larger one — ^The Organization, or society itself — ^but the 
immediate, physical group as well: the people at the conference table, 
the workshop, the seminar, the skull session, the after-hours discussion 
group, the project team. It is not enough now that he belong; he 
wants to belong together. 

One reason that he is so fascinated with group work, of course, 
is the simple fact that there is now so much more of it. Organization 
life being what it is, out of sheer necessity he must spend most of 
his working hours in one group or another, and out of self-defense, 
if not instinct, the committee arts must become reflex with him. But 
more than necessity is involved. Where the immersion of the indi- 
vidual used to be cause for grumbling and a feeling of independence 
lost, the organization man of today is now welcoming it. He is not 
attempting to reverse the trend and to cut down the deference paid 
to the group; he is working to increase it, and with the help of some 
branches of the social sciences he is erecting what is almost a secular 

There are two bases for this movement, one scientific, the other 
moral. The scientific basis can be stated very simply. It is now coming 
to be widely believed that science has proved the group is superior to 
the individual Science has not, but that is another matter. Mistaken 
or not, the popularized version of the science of the group is a social 
force in its own right, and it holds that experiments have shown that 
in human relations the whole is always greater than the sum of its 
parts and that through "interaction" we can produce ideas beyond 
our capabilities as individuals. The new dynamism, furthermore, is 
not to apply merely to the day-to-day work of getting things done; it 
is, presumably, going to envelop creative work too, and in areas until 
recently considered sacrosanct to the individual it is already having 
some effect. The scientific genius, for example. There is a growing 

J 16 Togetherness: Organization Man 

thought that he is an anachronism — a once valuable, but now un- 
necessary, prelude to the research team. And not an idle thought; in 
the name of science, administrators are taking some practical measures 
to insure that he will in fact be an anachronism. 

As is so characteristic of scientism, there is an overriding faith 
that we are on the brink of superseding discovery. In previous eras 
people often worked in groups too, and sometimes, though one would 
not imagine so from current group literature, quite successfully. But 
they were merely being empirical. If people were successful before, 
some now exclaim, think what lies ahead! For there now exists, or 
shortly will, a scientific body of laws by which we can unleash hitherto 
untapped sources of creativity. 

For their theoretical justification, group advocates lean heavily 
on the work being done in "group dynamics." This is a difficult field 
to define, all social science having a concern with the group, but gen- 
erally it describes the work of those whose attention is focused on the 
face-to-face group. From its beginnings, it has attracted some of the 
most imaginative men in social science, and through a combination 
of attitude surveys of organizations and experiments with small groups, 
they have tackled a whole series of intriguing questions. If a group has 
high morale, will it produce more? What is the ideal size of the in- 
formal group? What is the effect of the group on the deviate? 

Overall, their intellectual ambition has been large. Not only have 
they aimed to discover the underlying principles of group activity, 
they have aimed to do it in a rather short time, and this promise has 
unduly excited lay followers in the organization world. There have 
been delays; originally the group-dynamics people had expected the 
basic program to be over in ten years, but now they feel more time 
may be needed. Such delays, however, have only made the eventual 
promise all the more tantalizing to organization people. Another ten 
years ... .^ ;' -,. ■^^:..^T'■•:^ >;-■'•; / iU ■„::.; ■ 

But the basis of the movement is primarily a rrioral one. To the 
organization man the search for better group techniques is something 
of a crusade — a crusade against authoritarianism, a crusade for more 
freedom, for more recognition of the man in the middle. The key 
word is ''democratic"; with some justification the organization man 

Management Man: How He Works 117 

argues that the old-style individualist was often far more of a bar to 
individualism in other people and that in the modern organization the 
desk-pounding type of leader drastically inhibits the flow of ideas, not 
to mention making life unpleasant for everybody. As organization men 
see it, through an extension of the group spirit, through educating 
people to sublimate their egos, organizations can rid themselves of 
their tyrants and create a harmonious atmosphere in which the group 
will bring out the best in everyone. This moral urge is not lightly to be 
dismissed, and though I wish later to suggest other reasons for the 
group quest, it is only fair to say that most group advocates would be 
sincerely disturbed at the thought that they are party to anything that 
would stifle the individual. 

But they are. Much of what they say is correct: it is true that the 
health of organization life depends upon skillful group work; it is true 
that the group is tremendously effective in bringing out different 
points of view that would otherwise remain latent, that together mem- 
bers of a group can see more possible lines of action than if they were 
consulted individually; it is true that genius cannot function in a 
vacuum and that interaction with others in the field can be vastly 
stimulating and, indeed, often indispensable. 

But other things are true too, and in this chapter I would like to 
dwell on a few of the aspects of group work that are currently being 
sloughed over. To anyone who has had to work in an organization, 
they will not be novel thoughts, but I believe they deserve far more 
reiteration than they are now getting. It is not so much the fallacies 
of specific techniques of group work that are critical as the continued 
imbalance of emphasis, for this emphasis is having a definite molding 
effect on the organization man. 

The organization man is not yet so indoctrinated that he does 
not chafe at the pressures on his independence, and sometimes he 
even suspects that the group may be as much a tyrant as the despot 
it has replaced. It is the burden of the new group doctrine that such 
misgivings, if they are not maladjustment on the part of the individual, 
are simply a lack of knowledge, a lack of mastery of managerial tech- 
niques. The doctrine may be wrong, but the constant impress of it is 
helping to undercut the few personal defenses left the individual; 
more to the point, it is making an organization life increasingly hostile 
to the nonbeliever who hangs onto his defenses. 

J 18 Togetherness: Organization Man 

The central fallacy, I believe, lies in what can be called false col- 
lectivization. When are people in a group? Too often, we insist on 
treating a person — or ourselves — as a unit of a group when association 
with the particular group is not vital to the task in question, or may 
even be repressive. In some cases the group is a key entity — that is, 
the working together of individuals is necessary to perform the par- 
ticular function, and in such cases the way each of the people affects 
the others is inextricably entwined with the total performance. The 
work of a combat squad is a good example of this. The soldier is con- 
ditioned to fight primarily by his group, and just as a contagion of fear 
drastically alters the individual, so can a unity of courage. In such 
cases, plainly, the group is primary and it produces something over and 
above the total of the individuals. 

Can we generalize, however, that this is true of all collections of 
individuals? We are confusing an abstraction with a reality. Just be- 
cause a collection of individuals can be called a group does not mean 
it functions as a group or that it should. In many situations the fact 
of groupness is only incidental. Take, for example, the men who sit 
together in a college classroom. At times, an espht de corps is helpful 
in promoting lively discussion, but it is not vital, and the student's 
important relationship is not with other members of the group but to 
the content of the course and to the teacher as intermediary. 

But this distinction between the functional grouping and the 
incidental grouping is easily blurred. To follow the example of the 
class, we find many teachers treating a course less as a worthy dis- 
cipline in its own right than as a vehicle for stimulating interaction. 
In many institutions, as a consequence, the yardstick of a teacher's 
performance is the amount of interaction he develops in the group, 
and those who keep the students' focus on the discipline are apt to 
find themselves under censure. 

One teacher who had been criticized on this score told me that 
he was glad in a way, for he had been forced to think through his own 
position. ''If I didn't, I would stand accused as a reactionary. So I had 
to think out what I had always taken for granted. First, I made the 
point that in my course — during the first part of it, at any rate — the 
students were not qualified. I think it would be a mistake to encour- 
age them to think that their opinions are as good as mine at this stage. 
They aren't, and I want to let them know that before they can ques- 
tion my interpretation, they must master the fundamentals. Sure, I 

Management Man: How He Works 119 

want them to question and to come to their own conclusions, but they 
have to earn the right; they don't get fundamentals through glorified 
bull sessions but by hard work. The second point I made was on the 
value of the interaction that they talk about. What's so very important 
about it? Of all the groups that we are connected with in our lives, the 
classroom group is one of the least permanent and least vital ones. Try 
to remember who sat next to you in your classes at college. You'll have 
a hard time remembering." 

Another example of false collectivization is the way many organi- 
zations treat their professional employees. Recently, to cite a typical 
case, one well-known corporation was worried over a morale problem 
among its engineers. Now it is convenient to talk of the engineers as a 
group — just as it is convenient to talk of hundreds of thousands of 
individuals as a "mass audience." A convenient method of descrip- 
tion, however, is not necessarily a reality. The engineers appeared to 
be a group because physically many of them were housed in the same 
building, and in the organization charts and pay scales they were classi- 
fied together for convenience' sake. But their real problem in this 
instance came from their vertical relationship — that is, their relation- 
ship to the particular task and the superiors above them — and their 
morale problem had very little to do with social harmony among them- 
selves. The company insisted on treating them as a group, however, 
and in a vain effort to promote morale completely obscured the real 
nature of the problem. I am sure that many organization men can 
think of similar confusions. 

The most misguided attempt at false collectivization is the cur- 
rent attempt to see the group as a creative vehicle. Can it be? People 
very rarely think in groups; they talk together, they exchange informa- 
tion, they adjudicate, they make compromises. But they do not think; 
they do not create. 

Group advocates would agree that this has been so. But they do 
not see this as a natural limitation. To them it is a bug of human re- 
lations to be cured, and in the expectation that technique is the key, 
they are engaged in a wholesale effort to tame the arts of discovery — 
and those by nature suited for it. In part this effort is propelled by 
the natural distaste of the noncreative man for the creative, but again, 
there is the moral impulse. Among many there is a real belief that 
we can teach the individual to create in concert rather than as an 

120 Togetherness: Organization Man 

individual and that his acceptance of the organization way will pro- 
duce a combustion of ideas otherwise impossible. 

Here would be the ultimate victory of the administrator. The 
creative individual he does not understand, nor does he understand 
the conditions of creativity. The messiness of intuition, the aimless 
thoughts, the unpractical questions — all these things that are so often 
the companion to discovery are anathema to the world of the adminis- 
trator. Order, objective goals, agreement — these are his desiderata. 

Vital they are to executing ideas, but not to creating them. Agree- 
ment? To concentrate on agreement is to intensify that which inhibits 
creativity. For any group of people to operate effectively some firm 
basis of agreement is necessary, and a meeting cannot be productive 
unless certain premises are so shared that they don't need to be dis- 
cussed and the argument can be confined to areas of disagreement. But 
while this kind of consensus makes a group more effective in its legiti- 
mate functions, it does not make the group a creative vehicle. 

Think for a moment of the way you behave in a committee meet- 
ing. In your capacity as group member you feel a strong impulse to 
seek common ground with the others. Not just out of timidity but 
out of respect for the sense of the meeting you tend to soft-pedal that 
which would go against the grain. And that, unfortunately, can in- 
clude unorthodox ideas. A really new idea affronts current agreement 
— it wouldn't be a new idea if it didn't — and the group, impelled as 
it is to agreement, is instinctively hostile to that which is divisive. 
With wise leadership it can offset this bias, but the essential urge will 
still be to unity, to consensus. After an idea matures — after people 
learn to live with it — the group may approve it, but that is after the 
fact and it is an act of acquiescence rather than creation. 

I have been citing the decision-making group, and it can be 
argued that these defects of order do not apply to information-ex- 
changing groups. It is true that meeting with those of common inter- 
ests can be tremendously stimulating and suggest to the individuals 
fresh ways of going about their own work. But stimulus is not dis- 
covery; it is not the act of creation. Those who recognize this limita- 
tion do not confuse the functions and, not expecting too much, profit 
from the meeting of minds. 

Others, however, are not so wise, and fast becoming a fixture of 
organization life is the meeting self-consciously dedicated to creating 
ideas. It is a fraud. Much of such high-pressure creation — cooking 

Management Man; How He Works 121 

with gas, creating out loud, spitballing, and so forth — is all very pro- 
vocative, but if it is stimulating, it is stimulating much like alcohol. 
After the glow of such a session has worn off, the residue of ideas 
usually turns out to be a refreshed common denominator that every- 
body is relieved to agree upon — and if there is a new idea, you usually 
find that it came from a capital of ideas already thought out — by 
individuals — and perhaps held in escrow until someone sensed an op- 
portune moment for its introduction. 

I have been talking of the extension of the team to a field where 
it does not belong. Even in fields where the group is vital, however, the 
current emphasis on the team is having some equally inhibiting effects. 
Just as it has obscured the role of the individual in creation and dis- 
covery in such activities as research and communication, so in the 
regular work of running an organization it is obscuring the function 
of leadership. 

Such emphasis is particularly unnecessary at this time because 
the whole tendency of modern organization life is to muffle the im- 
portance of individual leadership. In studying an organization, one of 
the most difficult things is to trace a program or innovation back to 
its origins, and this is just as true of organization successes as it is of 
failures. Who started what and when? This kind of question is the 
kind that makes organization people uncomfortable. To answer it 
would be an offense against the organization spirit, and even the man 
himself who first conceived the plan is apt to deny — except perhaps 
to his wife — that his contribution was really very important. A sense 
of the fitness of things requires that it be the team, everyone working 
together, a small part of the inexorable symmetry of the over-all plan. 
Repeated, time and again, it becomes official, and this is the face of 
organization — and the moral — that is presented to the apprentices. 

But now to this inclination is added the force of ideology. On the 
surface it seems reasonable enough; the bogy is authoritarianism, and 
the aim is to free organization people from the pressures imposed on 
them by opinionated, unilateral people that all may express themselves 
more freely. But how do you define authoritarianism? In practice, 
current definitions of the authoritarian leader come perilously close to 
including anyone who has ideas of his own or who differs with others 
on basic policy. 

Anti-authoritarianism is becoming anti-leadership. In group doc- 

122 Togetherness: Organization Man 

trine the strong personality is viewed with overwhelming suspicion. 
The co-operative are those who take a stance directly over the keel; 
the man with ideas — in translation, prejudices — leans to one side or, 
worse yet, heads for the rudder. Plainly, he is a threat. Skim through 
current group handbooks, conference leaders' tool kits, and the like, 
and you find what sounds very much like a call to arms by the medi- 
ocre against their enemies. 

Let me cite a Bureau of Naval Personnel handbook on "Con- 
ference Sense." It is describing, with elephantine cheeriness, the dif- 
ferent kinds of types one has to deal with in conferences. Among the 
bad people we meet is The Aggressor. 

The conference leader's remedy: Place Donald Duck at your left (the 
blind spot). Fail to hear his objections, or if you do, misunderstand them. 
If possible, recognize a legitimate objection and side with him. Object is to 
get him to feel that he ''belongs." If he still persists in running wild, let 
group do what they are probably by now quite hot to do, i.e., cut the lug 
down. They generally do it by asking Little Brother Terrible to clarify his 
position, then to clarify his clarification, then to clarify his clarification of 
his clarification, etc., until our lad is so hot and bothered that he has worked 
himself into role of conference comedian. Then soothe his bruised ego and 
restore him to human society by asking him questions that he can answer 
out of special experience. 

The good people? One is The Compromiser. He "may offer com- 
promise by admitting his error ... by obviously disciplining himself 
to maintain group harmony, or by 'coming halfway' in moving along 
with the group. . . . This takes courage. Let him know he's appreciated. 
Give occasional cigar. A fifteen center. He deserves the best." 

These defensive gambits against the leader are only a stopgap 
measure. What some group advocates have in mind is, quite liter- 
ally, to eliminate the leader altogether. For some time the National 
Training Laboratory in Group Development at Bethel, Maine, has 
been experimenting with the "leaderless group" — and with such zeal 
as to make some students of the group a bit uneasy. One of the most 
astute students of the group, sociologist William Foote Whyte, was 
moved to write some second thoughts on his experiences at Bethel. 
He recounts the well-meaning attempt that was made there to turn 

Management Man; How He Works 123 

the group leader into a "resource person." The idea was that as the 
group jells, the leader would become less necessary and would retire 
into the background to be consulted, occasionally, for his special 
expertise. When this was tried out, a good bit of chaos resulted, but 
the group people hoped that the chaos — or ''feeling-draining" — 
would be a valuable catharsis and a prelude to later agreement. But 
no agreement came. Unfortunately, the group could not agree on a 
topic to agree upon. 

The causes of failure, as Whyte maintained, were not technical. 
Later he tried similar experiments on his own, and these led him to 
the conclusion that ''if the group is to make progress in its discussions 
and avoid confusion and frustration, then there must be a well-defined 
leadership, at least in the sense of co-ordination of activity. ... in 
some groups, and this was notably true at Bethel, such a high premium 
is placed upon fitting into the group and being sensitive to the group's 
wishes that the individual who shows some initiative on his own be- 
comes suspect and is likely to be discouraged. We must remember 
that if every member simply wants to do what the group wants to do, 
then the group is not going to do anything. Somehow, individual ini- 
tiative must enter into the group. Should we bring it in openly or 
should we try to bootleg it in an expression of group sentiment?" 

The intellectual hypocrisy of the leaderless group has brought 
forth a new breed; into the very vacuum that they bespeak have moved 
the professional group expediters. The end they seek is compromise 
and harmony, but in their controlled way they can be just as militant 
as any desk-pounder of old, and a lot more self-righteous. Reuel Den- 
ney has written a wonderful account in Commentary of the puzzle- 
ment of an old-style convention-goer when he comes up against them. 
After attending a preconvention conference with a group of people 
interested in groups, it slowly dawns on him that "those fellows were 
deciding a lot of things. Not that they knew it. But they were, for in- 
stance, planning a strategy to prevent the bright and talkative men 
from intimidating the others at the convention; they were going to 
get participation even if they, in a nice way, had to slug somebody, and 
the role of slugger — not just a role-playing role, either— was assigned 
in advance." 

The extent of this ferment was forcibly brought home to me 

124 Togetherness: Organization Man 

several years ago when I encountered my first ''buzz session." It was 
at a management convention. It had started conventionally enough 
with a panel discussion in which I and two other men spoke. Half- 
way through the proceedings, the program chairman called an inter- 
mission and, with the assistance of several helpers, began rearranging 
the seating so that the audience would be divided into groups of four, 
with the chairs turned around so that they faced each other, looking 
much like a huge bridge tournament with the bridge tables removed. 
When I asked him what was going on, he seemed surprised. Hadn't 
I ever heard of a ''buzz session"? He was an old hand at it, having 
been one of the first graduates of the National Group Training Labo- 
ratory at Bethel. He explained that rather than have a "directed" dis- 
cussion, we would stimulate ideas through interaction. By breaking 
the audience into a constellation of face-to-face groups, he said, we 
would create this interaction. The fact that the seating would be a 
random mixture of strangers would make no difference; the inter- 
action itself would produce many provocative insights. 

At last he banged down the gavel, and some two hundred grown 
men turned and faced each other for the discussion period. Minutes 
went by. There was no buzz. Something, obviously, was wrong, and 
it was only through the heroic efforts of two expediters that any ques- 
tions from the floor were forthcoming. The chairman was not chas- 
tened. After the meeting he told me that the trouble was simply that 
the groups were too small. Four wasn't up to the ignition level. Next 
time they would do it with six to eight men. 

;; While it would be wrong to dwell overlong on the more fatuous 
examples, they are not quite as unrelated to the main trend as many 
embarrassed organization men would like to believe. The Harwald 
Group-Thinkometer, for example. Most group-relations people would 
probably disown it as too stringent a tool, yet it seems a perfectly 
logical development. The Group-Thinkometer is an electric meter the 
dial of which is graduated in degrees of interest. Feeding into it are 
ten remote-control switches which can be distributed around, or 
under, the table, and by pressing the switch members of the group 
indicate approval or disapproval. Since the needle on the meter shows 
only the accumulated group reaction, one can veto a colleague's idea 
without his being the wiser, and, as the Harwald Company suggests, 
thus the personality factor is eliminated almost entirely. Extreme? The 

Management Man: How He Works 125 

Harvvald Company has only concretized, you might say, the under- 
lying principles of the group philosophy. 

Let me now take up the question of morale. Underpinning the 
current denigration of leadership are some very questionable assump- 
tions about the relationship between morale and productivity. As 
usually expressed by organization people, these assumptions follow 
this general sequence. Once we used hard-driving leaders to get things 
done, but this was because we didn't know any better. As group- 
dynamics studies have proved, high group morale is the heart of pro- 
duction. This means that the ideal leader should not lead in the old 
sense — that is, focus his attention and that of the group on goals. He 
should instead concentrate almost wholly on the personality relation- 
ships within the group. If he attends to these and sees to it that the 
members get along, the goals will take care of themselves. 

But the findings of the group-dynamics investigators themselves 
have been nowhere near as heart-warming as their lay followers would 
like to believe. Recently, Rensis Likert, Director of the Institute for 
Social Research at the University of Michigan — heartland of group 
dynamics — told a management audience of some second thoughts he 
had had. ''On the basis of a study I did in 1937 I believed that morale 
and production were positively related: that the higher the morale the 
higher the production. Substantial research findings since then have 
shown that this relationship is much too simple. In our different 
studies we have found a wide variety of relationships. Some units have 
low morale and low production; other units have fairly good morale 
and low production; still others have fairly good production but low 
morale; other units have both high morale and high production.'' 

Likert saw many benefits in the increased attention paid morale. 
Among other things it had led people to expect more opportunities 
for expression, initiative, and participation. But he had grown sus- 
picious, he said, of the laissez-faire approach in which the supervisor 
does not lead but tries to keep people happy. In companies in which 
human-relations training programs have been emphasized, he went 
on, ''some supervisors interpret the training to mean that the company 
management wants them to keep employees happy, so they work 
hard to do so. The result is a nice country-club atmosphere in which 
the leadership function has been abandoned to all intents and pur- 

126 Togetherness: Oiganization Man 

poses. Employees like it and absence and turnover are low, but since 
little production is felt to be expected, they produce relatively little/' 

Obviously, the study of group dynamics need not be antithetical 
to the individual, and here let me again make the distinction between 
analysis of a phenomenon and deification of it. One can study the 
group aspect of a man without deprecating his other aspects, and while 
many students of group dynamics have crossed the line, they don't 
have to. The more we find out about how a group actually behaves — 
and the scientific method is of immense help here — the more sophisti- 
cated we can become about its limitations, the more armed against its 
defects. But this won't be done unless there is a far more rigorous 
questioning of the value premises which underlie most current at- 
tacks on the problem. Consider the abstractions that are so taken for 
granted as good — such as consensus, co-operation, participation, and 
the like. Held up as a goal without any reference to ends, they are 
meaningless. Why participate, for example? Like similar abstractions, 
participation is an empty goal unless it is gauged in relation to the 
job to be done. It is a means, not an end, and when treated as an end, 
it can become more repressive than the unadorned authoritarianism it 
is supposed to replace. 

And why should there be consensus? Must consensus per se be 
the overriding goal? It is the price of progress that there never can be 
complete consensus. All creative advances are essentially a departure 
from agreed-upon ways of looking at things, and to over-emphasize the 
agreed-upon is to further legitimatize the hostility to that creativity 
upon which we all ultimately depend. 

Let me admit that I have been talking principally about the 
adverse aspects of the group. I would not wish to argue for a destruc- 
tive recalcitrance, nor do I wish to undervalue the real progress we 
have made in co-operative effort. But to emphasize, in these times, 
the virtues of the group is to be supererogatory. Universal organization 
training is now available for everybody, and it so effectively empha- 
sizes the group spirit that there is little danger that inductees will be 
subverted into rebelliousness. 

Over and above the overt praise for the pressures of the group, 
the very ease, the democratic atmosphere in which organization life 
is now conducted makes it all the harder for the individual to justify 
to himself a departure from its norm. It would be a mistake to con- 

Management Man: How He Works 127 

fuse individualism with antagonism, but the burdens of free thought 
are aheady steep enough that we should not saddle ourselves with a 
guilty conscience as well. The hunch that wasn't followed up. The 
controversial point that didn't get debated. The idea that was sup- 
pressed. Were these acts of group co-operation or individual surren- 
der? We are taking away from the individual the ability even to ask 
the question. 

In further institutionalizing the great power of the majority, we 
are making the individual come to distrust himself. We are giving 
him a rationalization for the unconscious urging to find an authority 
that would resolve the burdens of free choice. We are tempting him 
to reinterpret the group pressures as a release, authority as freedom, 
and that this quest assumes a moral guise makes it only the more 
poignant. Of all the forms of wanton self-destruction, the Englishman 
A. A. Bowman once observed, there is none more pathetic than that 
in which the human individual demands that in the vital relationships 
of life he be treated not as an individual but as a member of some 



By the turn oi the century the city had just come into its 
own. Men and women were coming iiom the farms to the 
streets oi Chicago, New York, London, Paris, to work out a 
destiny that was to forever mark them and mark the world 
in which they hved in. The individual on the farm was to he- 
come what is now called mass man. Mass man in turn was 
to become organization man. Mans pain, anxiety, and lone- 
liness were, until that time, projected outwards in his combat 
with the elements. The harvest, the sterility of the ground, 
the bad winds, the storms, the poverty oi the land in our 
ever-expanding country were challenges that were met and 
conquered. The dangers were as omnipresent as the atom 
bomb, but land had existed ior so long, nature seemed so in- 
finite, that man shared its tradition and infinity. However, as 
he moved into the city his anxieties moved inward; they 
came to roost in his own soul, and he became troubled and 
anxious. His enemies were no longer the iocs oi the land, the 
torrent oi rain, the iorest to be idled; they were instead his 
own confusions and the desires with which he had such dii- 
Eculty coping. They were confusions that grew as inflexible 
as concrete, and they became as oppressive as the stone walls 
that were going up about him. 

The literature oi the time rcEected all these elements, and 

* From: The Georgia Review, 1958. 

130 A Day in the Life of the Boss 

the picture of the businessman and financier that began to 
emerge was tyrannical, unpleasant, threatening in every as- 
pect. The tycoons became such characters as Theodore 
Dreiser's Cowperwood. These men had, their authors said, 
machines in their minds, machines for hearts. But all of these 
writers were humanity's voice trying to adjust itself to the 
new world of technological advancement. 

Frank N orris, the American novelist, wrote the words be- 
low in 1903. American literature was coming alive with a 
great burst of naturalistic energy. N orris' words conjure up 
those exciting days — the beat of the new machines of indus- 
try as well as the cries of commerce. He was fascinated with 
the ever complex octopi of industry that had begun to spread 
its tentacles around the world. Behind these words was our 
modern concept of twentieth century business. 

What is most striking about these magniEcent narrative 
passages is that business is conceived as a force of nature, and 
was so tempestuous that man had to subdue it with all the 
qualities that had made him a pioneer in the new world. 
Even in 1903, as you will see, Norris was able to portray that 
the wheat pits of Chicago inEuenced lives from the Ganges 
to theSaar. 

Often Jadwin had noted the scene, and, unimaginative though 
he was, had long since conceived the notion of some great, some 
resistless force within the Board of Trade Building that heJd the 

, tide of the streets within its grip, alternately drawing it in and 
throwing it forth. Within there, a great whirlpool, a pit of roaring 
waters spun and thundered, sucking in the life tides of the city, 
sucking them in as into the mouth of some tremendous cloaca, 
the maw of some colossal sewer; then vomiting them forth again, 

. spewing them up and out, onJy to catch them in the return, eddy 
and suck them in afresh. 

Thus it went, day after day. Endlessly, ceaselessly the Pit, 
enormous, thundering, sucked in and spewed out, sending the 
swirl of its mightly central eddy far out through the city's chan- 
nels. Terrible at the center, it was, at the circumference, gentle, 
insidious and persuasive, the send of the flowing so mild, that to 
embark upon it, yielding to the influence, was a pleasure that 

, seemed all devoid of risk. But the circumference was not hounded 
by the city. All through the Northwest, all through the central 
world of the Wheat, the set and whirl of that innermost Pit 

Management Man; How He Works 131 

made itself ielt; and it spread and spread and spread till grain in 
the elevators oi Western Iowa moved and stined and answered 
to its centiipetal ioice, and men upon the streets of New York 
felt the mysterious tugging of its undertow engage their feet, 
embrace their bodies, overwhelm them, and carry them bewil- 
dered and unresisting back and downwards to the Pit itself. 

Nor was the Pit's centrifugal power any less. Because of some 
sudden eddy spinning outward from the middle of its turmoil, a 
dozen bourses of continental Europe clamored with panic, a 
dozen Old-World banks, Erm as the established hills, trembled 
and vibrated. Because of an unexpected caprice in the swirling of 
the inner current, some far-distant channel suddenly dried, and 
the pinch of famine made itself felt among the vine dressers of 
Northern Italy, the coal miners of Western Prussia. Or another 
channel filled, and the starved moujik of the steppes, and the 
hunger-strunken coolie of the Ganges' watershed fed suddenly 
fat and made thank offerings before ikon and idol. 

Industrial birth pains were heard in all parts of the world. 
The machine was either applauded to the extent that a whole 
art movement in Italy was based on its fabulous intricacy or 
perpetually decried as though it attacked the very fate of 
man itself. In the new burst of industrial energy of our own 
time, the threat of automation has reawakened some of these 
old fears. But no machine can ever he the threat that we axe 
to ourselves. 

"Men in masses are gripped by personal troubles/' wrote 
C. Wright MiJIs. The truth is, of course, that man in isola- 
tion is just as gripped by personal troubles; but these troubles 
are not nearly so well surveyed, analyzed, and profitable, to 
the writers of today as are the troubles of mass man. Organi- 
zation man constantly deals not only with all the various fac- 
tors of the corporation but with the deepest of personal re- 
lationships that he does not quite understand. It has taken 
nearly half a century from the time Frank Norris started his 
great trilogy on the business life of Chicago until we End a. 
new kind of literature emerging about the businessman and 
a new appreciation of some of the anxieties and trepidations 
that are constantly afflicting management life. 

A Day in the Life of the Boss by Hugh Geeslin, Jr., was 
chosen as one of the best American short stories the year it 
was published, a notable feat for a story about business, 

132 A Day in the Life of the Boss 

where sometimes the sales are high hut the ciiticd reward is 
low. Why write about business, D. H. Lawrence, chastised a 
critic many years ago. "Business is nasty.'* It is obvious writ- 
ing about business is no longer nasty. It is one of the most 
provocative Eelds of American letters today. 

Mr. Geeslins story is a simple, everyday story of experi- 
^ ences known to all of us. Mr. Geeshn was a salesman travel- 

ing over the Southeast when he wrote it, and the immediacy 
of everyday management life is right here. 

Management Man; How He Works 133 



e listened a moment at the bathroom door, and be- 
ing sure finally that neither Lisa nor Little Mase was 
there, he entered. Preparing to shave, he gave himself the musing ap- 
praisal in the mirror which was as much a part of the ritual as the 
brush or shaving cream. 

Staring at himself in the mirror, he saw a narrow face with a sharp 
nose and quick, indecisive eyes. He searched himself as he searched an 
invoice at the office, quick to seize on the wrong total or the errant 
shipment. His thin hair depressed him and he tried unsuccessfully 
each morning to cover the bald spot. 

Applying the lather, he said, "Ugly. Ugly as hell." 

There was nothing he could do about the face on which even the 
beard was not luxuriant but straggling and growing in patches, and 
nothing he could do about the six-feet-three-inch body that was not 
so much thin as narrow, or the AAA, size fourteen shoes. These things 
never entered his morning reverie because they were impossible to 
remedy. He could not right them as he did the mistaken invoice. 
There was no exchange for Gladstone Mott's self-confidence, healthy 
body, and the sense of belonging somewhere in history, and not only 
belonging but being of the people who were governors of states and 
later perhaps United States senators, of the people who founded busi- 
nesses, played golf, and retired early. He couldn't be Gladstone Mott. 
He could only run his company for him, standing always at the elbow, 
sometimes obtrusively (when Gladstone began to make one of his 
unhinged mistakes) , but most often quietly admiring. 

He was satisfied, he often told himself during those early morning 
communions when he had at last wrenched the bathroom from Des- 
iree, his wife. Little Mase, his son, and Lisa, his daughter. But saying 
this, he knew he lied. Instead he counted the things, the concrete ob- 
jects which he owned, and which he knew to be important. 

There was the house. Brick. Set well back from the street, the 
quiet dead-end street lined with poplars and pines, where Lisa and 
Little Mase could play with the other children without danger from 
passing cars, and Hned also with thirty-thousand-dollar houses that 

134 A Day in the Life of the Boss 

were identical to his except for that superficial change that trans- 
formed an ell into a front porch and a carport into a brick patio. 

(''Can't you see they're all alike?" John Shaw used to say before 
he stopped coming to the house. ''Can't you see that they're one and 
all of that great dead Suburbia where nothing ever happens except 
promotion, transfer, and death? Can't you see?" John Shaw, who had 
wanted to be an architect, but had wound up at Mott's instead, had 
said all this in the living room of the house, leaning toward his host, 
half drunk on rye highballs.) 

There was the house, with the brook running through the front 
yard, just as it did through the front yards of all of the houses on the 
street, which offered a rose-covered receptacle to the mailman, who 
nevertheless called them all mailboxes. There were the house and 
Desiree and the children. There were two cars in the carport, an old 
Studebaker which belonged to Desiree and a new Buick which was 
furnished to him by Mott, Inc., where he was Vice-president and 
General Sales Manager. 

By the time he had seated himself at the breakfast table, his 
morning reverie was finished. He now devoted himself to arbitrating 
the contests of Lisa and Little Mase, as they tried to outwit Desiree, 
or at least perplex her so that she could no longer remember the rain- 
coat — when it rained — or the overcoat — in the winter — ^or the hun- 
dreds of other details which arise from having two children in school 
and a nine-room house to care for with only a maid and sometimes 
Willy, the handyman from Mott's, who came when the Motts could 
spare him from what they assumingly called their estate. 

"Why can't I wear high heels. Daddy?" Lisa said. "I'm fourteen 
and all the girls in my class wear them. Mother says to ask you. 
Daddy. Why can't I, Daddy?" 

He looked at her and was sorry that her eyes were his eyes and 
that she was positively his daughter and not his wife's. What could he 
do for her, now or later? Could he change that outer shell of hers, that 
covering of skin and arrangement of bones which he had never even 
considered until she was ten or eleven and her classmates at Miss Prim- 
rose's school had begun to yell "Ugly-smuggly" at her on the way 
home in the late afternoons? Could he forestall the anguish that 
would surely arise from the school proms, swimming parties, and the 
high school play? What could he do for her? 

"Let her wear them, Desiree. I think she's old enough." 

Management Man: How He Works J 35 

"All right, Mason." And then she was herding them through the 
door and into Miss Primrose's station wagon, which had made itself 
known by frequent blasts on the horn. 

''Mason/' Desiree called as he made his way to the carport and 
the Buick. He stopped at the door and leaning, brushed her cheek 
with a kiss. ''Mason, you shouldn't feel badly about Lisa. She's going 
to be all right. And so are you, my dear. You're a fine man and she's 
a wonderful little girl. I'm very proud of both of you." 

"Look," he said, already through the door, "Fve got a lot of 
work to do. See you tonight." 

The Buick was red-and-white and almost brand new. He had 
chosen the colors himself and he admired them. The car gave him 
much satisfaction during the early morning drives through the quiet 
city streets on his way to work. 

He adjusted the wide-brimmed Stetson to the side of his head 
and settled down to the forty-five-minute drive downtown. 

He wanted this time to think, to plan, and to compose himself. It 
was not fear that he felt rising in his stomach which caused the bitter 
taste in his mouth. He had not felt real fear since his last trip as naviga- 
tor for the ATC, during the war. He was confident, as he knew he had 
a right to be, for he had helped to make the company the largest of its 
kind in six states. He had brought it almost single-handedly from the 
lazy little outfit run by old Mr. Mott and his golf-playing son to its 
present position of authority in the farm equipment industry. He was 
not afraid but he wanted time to plan his strategy. 

John Shaw was resigning today. This he knew. Knowing John 
Shaw as well as he did after three years of close association, he knew 
that Shaw was capable of being bitter and accusatory and very likely 
suffering from a bad hangover. It was never well to leave an accusation 
unanswered when it was made to Gladstone Mott. Mott had a way 
of dwelling on events until they were finally resolved, weeks later, 
and not always in the manner that Mason would have liked. It was 
always best to end these things before they began. 

The Mott, Inc., lot was a choice one on Murphy Avenue. There 
was one long building, which housed two offices, one the outer office 
where Mason had his desk along with Jeff Spires, the office clerk, and 

136 A Day in the Life of the Boss 

Chalmers Marchant, the bookkeeper. To the rear were the shops 
which were headed by Don Swan, who, every day of his working hfe, 
ate his lunch at the Vice-president's desk, leaving bits of sandwich 
and coflPee stains on the blotter. 

(Leaning over Mason's sofa, holding his fourth drink carelessly, 
his hair hanging down limp over his face, John Shaw had said: ''Why 
don't you buy him a table if you don't like it? Suppose that he was the 
first man they ever hired. Mott'd understand. Why gripe? Tell him.") 

The lot was newly paved and landscaped. Bland gladioli bloomed 
beneath the office windows and the grass was green and neatly 
trimmed by Willy, the handyman. Four huge oaks brought shade to 
the front of the lot and in the rear there were three. 

Accelerating the car into the driveway as he always did. Mason 
smiled. It was always a pleasure to get back to the place. He felt pride 
of ownership in this place and achievement realized here, as if he had 
conceived and nurtured it from its founding. He felt joy and anticipa- 
tion of joy when he thought of the future. Mott would soon be out 
of it. He never came down to the office more than two or three times 
a week. He preferred to spend his time at the Crudney Hills Golf 
Club. Not that the Club wasn't all right. After all, at Gladstone 
Mott's insistence, he himself was a member. And it had done a lot for 
him; it had done plenty for him, the associations with really fine fel- 
lows, the good exercise, and besides he had met ''Hump" Riley there 
and through him had made the arrangements with the Osgood 
Brothers Implement Company. Of course he got to play on the course 
only on Thursday afternoon and Saturday and Sunday, and not then if 
Mott was in a tournament and he had things to do which he couldn't 
delegate to Jeff Spires or Shaw. Not that he ever got much out of 

Mason smiled in spite of the taste in his mouth. It was good to 
get back to the place. He entered the office and sat down at his desk. 

The office had been hastily, cheaply, and shoddily built. Loose 
mortar sifted from between the odd-sized concrete blocks of the 
walls; celotex panels hung limply from the ceiling where they had been 
improperly nailed; and the floor slanted crazily toward Mott's office. 

The furniture was expensive. There were three desks, matching 
chairs, and an odd chair, all of which had been selected by Cherie 
Mott, Gladstone's wife. 

John Shaw was sitting aslant in the odd chair at Mason's desk. 

Management Man: How He Works 137 

He swayed front and back, front and back, sometimes glancing at 
Mason, who was busy at a stack of invoices, and sometimes gazing 
over the air-conditioning units through the window and into busy 
Murphy Avenue. 

''Morning, Mason-o," he said, grinning. Mason saw that his eyes 
were clear and alert. Apparently he had had a good night's sleep. 

'*Hi, John. Say, are you going to take care of this?" He handed 
John a request from a prospective customer, asking for prices and 
descriptive literature. 

He handed back the letter. ''Not today, Mason-o. Today I've got 
a lot of things to do, but taking care of this guy isn't one of them." 

''All right," Mason said, his voice bearing traces of acquiescence 
and belligerency. 

John did not hear Mason's words. He was listening to the tone of 
his voice. It was the juxtaposition in sound of heroics and cowardice 
that puzzled him, that manner of speaking which was half plea and 
half threat, as if Mason stood with an axe in one hand and an olive 
branch in the other. He could remember talking to Mason on long 
distance from the territory, and hearing the voice, but after a moment 
not listening to the words but enjoying the sudden rush of blood to 
his own face and the tightening of his stomach muscles, momentarily 
fighting down the rage, and then as Mason's high whine came through 
over the hundreds of miles of bright wire, dropping reservations and 
reason and letting the anger take hold completely. 

"It's like I wanted to rip the phone off the wall," Shaw would 
say to Gladstone Mott later, trying to understand Mason, trying to 
understand him because he wanted to be able to understand him to be 
able to keep the job. So at last he could keep a job for more than a 
few months, so he could quit drinking, maybe get married and settle 
down on a farm somewhere and become the man he secretly believed 
every man should be, steady and hard-working. He would talk to Mott 
slowly at first but soon the words would come swiftly and finally 
cascade, and the only result of them was the reddening of John Shaw's 
face as he spoke. 

Mason was telephoning, and Spires was busy transcribing letters 
from the dictaphone cylinder. Chalmers was bent slightly over his 
ledgers, making the neat entries which were automatic and nearly al- 
ways correct. 

Chalmers was small and as neat as his ledgers. His clothes were 

138 A Day in the Life of the Boss 

good and he carried himself confidently. There had always been a 
haphazard raillery between him and John Shaw. This morning they 
had said only good morning. Chalmers glanced at his friend now, as 
he sat negligently in the expensive chair. He felt pity for John, wanted 
to help him, but knew no way of doing so. 

(Over the lunch table, John had once pointed a hard bread 
stick at Chalmers, underscoring his words. "I don't know about that 
Mason. I don't know why he rubs me the wrong way. I do know it's 
becoming a big thing with me. My weekends are ruined. I find myself 
talking about him to perfect strangers in bars." 

''Maybe it's not him at all," Chalmers had said. ''Maybe it's you 
and this town. Maybe you don't belong here." 

"Don't talk to me like that." John had grinned, suddenly. "A 
man like you, a gentleman like you from Blue's Old Stand, Alabama, 
is simply always a gentleman from Blue's Old Stand, Alabama. Don't 
talk to me about this city. This is my town, man. It always has been. 
Other people wanted to go to Paris or Andalusia; I wanted to come 

"Eat your beef," Chalmers had said.) 

Mason was telephoning. Jeff Spires saw John rocking in the win- 
dow but caught nothing of the tension of which Chalmers and Mason 
were aware. Spires was small, an inch or two over five feet, made too 
little money for his wife and two children, and wore clip-on bow ties. 
He also told jokes. 

("Say, Mr. Shaw, did you hear what one psychiatrist said to an- 
other one when he passed him on the street one day? Heh. Heh. He 
said: 'You're all right. How am I?' Heh, heh, Mr. Shaw. He said: 
'You're all— '" . ; h 

"All right, that's one. Two more and you're through for the day. 
Right?" John said. 

"All right." Spires returned to his typing. He was pleased. A 
careful smile graced his thin, mottled face. ) 

Listening to Mason on the telephone, John was thinking of Spires 
and remembering the story that he had told him. After hearing the 
story, John had defended Spires during an informal meeting between 
Mason and Cherie, defended him hotly and with enough spirit that 
the clerk was assured ample time to remedy his overly precise m.anner 
when he handled the firm's telephone requests and the few customers 
who came to the offices. 

Management Man: How He WorJcs J 39 

Weeks before, during an afternoon when Spires and John were 
alone in the office, John working on an advertising letter and Spires 
seeming pensive and ill at ease, Spires had begun suddenly to talk 
about his father: ''When I was five or six years old, we lived in a mill 
town. That was before Daddy and Mother were divorced. Later on 
they quit and I didn't know why and I still don't. I guess times were 
hard then. I don't remember anything about that at all. What I re- 
member is Daddy working in a cotton mill and getting off every after- 
noon at four o'clock and me going down to meet him. I always got 
there about three-thirty and sat on one of them long wooden benches 
that the men sat on who were waiting to go to work on the four-o-five 
shift. I remember it was always smoky and I guess the streets must 
have been dirty as hell but I don't remember that at all. I'd go down 
there and sit down on the bench and wait for Daddy to get off from 
work. And then after a while I'd get up and do a little jig, you know, 
a buck-and-wing. I always was a dancer. You know I won this ciga- 
rette lighter here out in California at the Trianon Ballroom, me and 
my partner. She got an orchid and a big box of candy. Well, as I was 
saying, I'd do this little dance for the men there and they must have 
liked it because every day they'd ask me to dance and pretty soon 
they began to pitch money on the pavement. I didn't hardly know 
how to count money, then, but there were nickels and a lot of pen- 
nies. Sometimes as much as a quarter. Then the whistle would blow 
and my daddy would come through the gate and we'd walk home. 
When we got away from the mill, my daddy would take my arm and 
say. Give me what you got. And he'd take my money. Every day, he'd 
take my money." 

''Listen, Bishop," Mason was saying into the telephone, "you call 
up Goode Contracting Company. Yeah, yeah, Goode. Ask for old 
man Goode. Tell him you heard he wants to buy two tractors in the 
same class as our Lady. Give him a price of fifty dollars over my price. 
Yeah, that's right, fifty dollars. In about an hour I'll call him and give 
him my price and get the business. The next two are yours. Okay? 
Fine, fine, boy. Goodbye, Harry." Mason was talking, John realized, to 
Harry Bishop, manager of Standard Tractor, Mott's chief competitor. 

John knew what was going on. He knew that Mason had entered 
into an agreement with Bishop and Standard Tractor, setting the same 
price for merchandise sold by either company. 

140 A Day in the Life of the Boss 

''Sewing it up, huh, boy," John said. 

*Tou Ve got to do it," Mason said. 

Don Swan came in from the shops, red-faced and greasy, mum- 
bhng and cursing a trunnion shaft. Another day at Mott's, Inc., had 

Gladstone Mott, President and sole owner of Mott Implement 
Company, sat eating breakfast with his wife Cherie on the terrace 
overlooking the pool. 

He enjoyed his food. Mrs. Knighthammer's biscuits were espe- 
cially pleasing today, and he wore a gob of butter on his chin, defiantly. 
The Virginia ham had been prepared just right, and its savor and 
texture was triumphant. Today he re-examined Mrs. Knighthammer's 
expertness as he did every day, but his mind strayed unwillingly to the 
office and the problems which awaited him there. His usually calm 
face now showed signs of rigid concern. 

''What's the matter, Glad?" Cherie searched his tanned face ex- 
pectantly and lovingly. She knew him well and she was accustomed 
to his changes of mood and purpose. Almost maternally she considered 
his open face, the carelessly worn sport shirt for which she had paid 
twenty dollars, the gabardine slacks which were grease-stained, the 
bottoms of which were inexactly rolled above his shoes to exhibit red 
wool golf socks. About money and business he would never know, 
she realized, and it took nothing from him. The money was hers, and 
she understood it, just as she understood him. Not perceiving that 
complex, almost mystic interrelationship of salesman, customer, 
manufacturer and designer, it was perfectly plain that he commanded 
a hard and wholly unsolicited and unwanted loyalty from his em- 
ployees and co-workers. She did not understand why they held in 
respect and even love his careless gestures of confidence and rare 
flashes of genuine business acumen. This morning, as on most morn- 
ings, she was pleased with him. 

"How did you know?" Gladstone said. 

"YouVe only eaten one man's breakfast. Mrs. Knighthammer 
will think that you're ill." 

"I'm not that transparent, I hope. It's a wonder I ever had any 
business success if my face is such an open book," Gladstone said. 

Management Man: How He Works 141 

'Tou forget that IVe had years to study it/' Cherie said. "It's 
about Mason and John Shaw, isn't it?" 

'Tes, it's been building up a long time. They're both good men. 
I'd hate for anything to happen now that we've only just got the new 
line launched." 

Cherie lifted her fine head in what could have been an impolite 
sniff. ''Well, you simply can't get along without Mason. Why, he has 
every part of the business at his fingertips. Where would you find 
another man who's good at design, better at production and plan- 
ning, and who's absolutely tops at sales? Where are you going to get a 
replacement for such a man?" 

Gladstone glanced reflectively about the grounds, not admiring 
the towering maples and spruce, hardly able to identify them, or the 
thousands of flowers and shrubs, seeing all whole and green, and as a 
part of the scene. Botany was not one of Gladstone's interests. 

'Tou don't like John Shaw much, do you?" Gladstone said, ask- 
ing for the judgment which he had come to respect, and which, in 
matters of business, he seldom disdained. 

''No," her face colored, "he laughs at me. He talks too fast, so 
many ideas come so swiftly that he wins every argument. He makes 
me feel like a fool. Now, Mason is a good old boy. Not the best-look- 
ing man I ever knew but certainly one of the smartest businessmen." 

Gladstone disliked her remarks about Mason's appearance. He 
knew the depths, almost pathological, of Mason's sensitivity. 

"What about the campaign John did on the Lady?" Gladstone 
said. "We had no hopes at all for that tractor, although we'd been 
manufacturing it for two years, and along comes John and increases 
our volume four hundred per cent in a few months." 

"The Lady would have sold," Cherie said, vehemently. "Just 
because that Shaw thought up a few silly slogans, and reorganized the 
dealer setup, and we got more orders, that doesn't prove much." 

"You aren't being fair, Cherie, and you know it. The whole 
campaign was his, and his alone. We'd sunk plenty into a new design 
for a small tractor aimed at the do-it-yourself market and they just 
weren't buying. Remember, John christened the tractor Lady, and he 
wrote all the advertising." 

"Those silly slogans again," Cherie said. 

"Maybe . . . maybe they were silly, but they were damned effec- 
tive. Remember, Mrs. Homemaker, if you can make a salad, you 

142 A Day in the Life oi the Boss 


CAN OPERATE THE Lady. We sold tiactois and that's always the final 

Gladstone pushed his chair back and stood up. He kissed his 
wife on the lips and drove his powder-blue Jaguar to the office. 

Driving through the tree-lined streets, Gladstone felt neither 
resentment nor pleasure at the prospect before him. People and their 
motives were past his understanding and they had always been. Much 
better the open fairway and the exultation which came when club 
connected solidly with ball and he stepped back, knowing the drive 
good for three hundred yards. 

It was almost eleven when he reached the Mott, Inc., offices, as 
he brought the Jaguar in line with Mason's Buick and extricated 
himself neatly from it. 

At three in the afternoon the Mott offices were just as they had 
been earlier, except that the afternoon sun had begun to shine into 
the window above Chalmer's desk with such force that he rose to close 
the Venetian blinds. 

As he did so, Gladstone Mott called through the door of his 
office, ''Mason . . . John . . . will you come in here, please?" 

Chalmers sat at his desk, fingering a closed ledger. His questions, 
which had been directed at John Shaw during their lunch together, 
had brought no confidences or explanations. 

As the men entered, Gladstone was seated in what John always 
called ''the throne," a huge upholstered chair which Cherie had 
ordered from New York. He adjusted the chair to the great desk, 
much too large for the small cluttered office, and began tentatively to 
poke into the mass of old memos, letters, invitations to parties, bills 
from department stores, sales bulletins, catalogues, and old copies of 
Sports lUustmted. He knew that the two men were studying his face, 
trying to find the answer to what form the conference would take. 
Purposely Gladstone assumed an introspective demeanor. 

"Close the door, men, and take chairs," Gladstone said. 

Mason knew instantly that Gladstone was determined to keep the 
discussion on an unemotional level. Surprisingly, as he admitted to 

Management Man: How He Works J 43 

himself, Mason was glad. John was certainly a talker, and in anger he 
often swayed Gladstone's judgment with sheer eloquence. 

John searched the ruined wall for the framed photograph of the 
Lady. That this photograph hung with the other likenesses of Mott 
equipment gave him confidence. 

''What do you want, Glad?'' John said. 

Mason admired the opening move. John had achieved his pur- 
pose, which was to make Gladstone slightly uneasy. 

'That's not the question," Gladstone said. "It's what you want. 
Mason and I are waiting to hear just what it is that you want." 

John flicked his attention from the photograph to the open win- 
dow and back to Gladstone's face. 

"I want to quit. Now. Today," John said. 

"That's pretty silly and you know it," Mason said. "You've done 
all right here. The money has been good and we get along." 

"Do we?" John said. "What about the McDarrell deal? Is that 
an example of how well we get along? What about the Smith deal? Is 
that another example? And apart from these two, what about 'Hump' 
Riley and his deal, yes, his deal, his goddamned slimy deal of deals?" 

Shaw's face was red, and slowly the crimson spread to his neck. 

"Glad approved every one of those deals," Mason said. His voice 
was high and nervous. 

Gladstone laughed jovially, falsely. "Now, fellows, let's not start 

"I can understand the McDarrell deal," John said, "even though 
I went up there and sold the dealer after first finding him and persuad- 
ing him to become our dealer, and before that sitting down and decid- 
ing what qualifications a good dealer for the Lady would have; and 
even though I sold him and three days later he called up and Mason 
answered the phone and went up there and told the man he was Vice- 
president and got a signed order for fifty machines. I understand that 
deal. Glad, because Mason, bless his ugly hide, has to have the sales. 
It keeps him going. It's the one thing that he must have. He's so httle 
like the rest of us, so different and lacking in all those things you and I 
and everybody else take for granted, that it was absolutely imperative 
that he slide up there and steal the order." 

Mason's narrow face was pale and quiet. 

Gladstone sat behind the mountainous desk, momentarily 
amazed at the viciousness of Shaw's attack. 

144 A Day in the Liie oi the Boss 

''And the Smith deal/' John said, rapidly. ''I propose that we 
hereby discuss the Smith deal. Mason, here, is a man who cannot 
make a mistake. He cannot ever humanly err because to do so would 
detract an iota from that long glimmering vision he has of himself, 
that stenciled portrait he carries inside his narrow head, that appears 
to him inhumanly potent and omniscient. But mistakes become every 
man and are a part of most of us. Yet when Mason makes one, instead 
of admitting it, he has to alibi, or blame it on somebody else, or lie 
out of if' 

John half rose from his chair. The room was ringed with the 
sound of his words. 

''Smith bought twenty tractors from me and we didn't have them 
in stock for immediate delivery. Smith was on his head, so I called 
Stitch in Chicago and he promised me the machines at a good profit. 
I remember the day very well. I asked Mason to call Stitch and get 
a confirming price and also to confirm Smith's arrival to pick up the 
machines. After all, Mason is supposed to be the Boss. Mason didn't 
think it necessary to call Stitch. Oh, no. He had to write him an 
air-mail letter. Smith arrives. Stitch, not hearing from Mason, sells 
Smith the tractors himself and we're out in the cold completely. Two 
thousand down the drain. And the air-mail letter. Ah, the letter. It 
gets to Stitch a day later, after Smith had left Chicago with the 
machines. Now, here's the topper. That was all right about us losing 
the money. We could always make more money. But Mason said 
that he tried to call Stitch and Mason lied. But Mason had to be right. 
He couldn't make a mistake. The result was that we lost the money, 
and all the time I spent cultivating Smith was wasted." 

"What's the matter with you, John?" Gladstone said. "Are you 
crazy? Don't you know better than to talk like this?" 

"Maybe I am a little nuts. Glad. It's hard to say after three years 
with Mason. But to enthrone and decorate my insanity: the crowning 
achievement of Mason's claim to manhood is the agreement he fos- 
tered with Hump Riley." 

"Glad okayed that deal. Glad wanted to go in with Hump," 
Mason said, his face ashen, frantically searching Gladstone's appear- 
ance for the key to his reactions. 

"Sure, Glad wanted the deal. You talked to him night and day 
for weeks and finally Glad heard so much about it that he thought 
it was his idea in the first place," John said. 

Management Man: How He Works 14 S 

Gladstone said, 'Tm that stupid, am I?" 

''Not stupidity, Glad/' John said. ''Just not giving a damn, mostly. 
Wanting to please Mason because he's a good man and he lives with 
the business." 

"It wasn't a bad deal, really," Gladstone said. 

"No. Oh, hell no, it wasn't a bad deal. We had the Lady going 
like a house afire. We were knocking the hell out of Osgood Brothers 
Implement Company, and Hump, that noble almost All-American 
footballer and vaunted sales manager of Osgood Brothers, comes cry- 
ing to Mason out at dear old Crudney Hills for a combination. 'Let's 
all get together,' Hump the hero says. 'Let's Mott and Osgood and 
Standard Tractor get together and set the price. We don't have any 
choice, boy. In view of rising labor costs, scarce steel, and skyrocketing 
freight rates, plus ruinatious competition, we don't have any choice.' 
Mason listened to Hump and he talked you into it, Glad, whether 
you'll ever admit it or not." 

"What's the matter with the deal?" Mason said. 

"In six months, you'll see," John said. "The Lady is such a good 
little machine that we could have wrapped up the market. Now we're 
taking thirds. Our volume is bound to drop." 

"Bull," Gladstone said, "and Mason didn't talk me into a 
damned thing." At last he was in perfect control of himself. "We're 
getting nowhere, John. You'll have to make up your mind to be 
satisfied. These agreements are the coming thing, old sport. They're 
what all of us are working toward. Look what's happened in the 
automobile field, and the paper field, and the metal can field. Some 
day you'll see these agreements covering every phase of our business, 
from tractors like the Lady down to our cheapest peanut picker. You 
wait and see." 

"Well, I'll be goddamned." John laughed. "I'll be goddamned if 
the man isn't sitting there, gazing into the distance, talking about 
getting together en masse to crooker the customer, and not only 
talking about it but dreaming about it, as if it were finally a cure for 
lung cancer or possibly the common cold. Goddammit, Glad, do you 
know what I'm talking about?" 

"I never before realized that you were stupid," Gladstone said 
quietly. "Here you insult Mason at every turn and question my 
business sense and all at the top of your voice. You've done good work 
here, and I'm the first to admit it, but you're through. Where did 

146 A Day in the Life of the Boss 

they dig you up, anyway? What are you, the honor guard of all the 
fair fair principles? Are you the weeping heart of Murphy Avenue, 
here to assure all the suckers an even break?" 

''It's all in how you see it/' John said. 

''Well, goddammit, youVe got no right to take it out on Mason 
or Cherie or me. If you want to be a drunk, with all that soul-search 
mumbling in your beer, all right. That's your business. But you 
shouldn't cross us in the business." Gladstone's voice was low but 
his face was slack and disorganized. Perspiration had begun to collect 
on his forehead. 

Getting to his feet, Gladstone said, "Get the hell out of my 
office, Shaw, before I lose my temper." 

John Shaw studied his own hands. They were steady. He lighted 
a cigarette and strolled through the door, closing it gently behind him. 

The late afternoon sunlight made dappled shadows on the walls 
of Gladstone's ofEce. In the distance, the sound of the homeward- 
bound Murphy Avenue traffic was loud and intermittently raucous. 
Mason and Gladstone sat in silence. 

Finally Mason said, "Where do I stand in all this? You don't 
blame me, do you? Cherie doesn't blame me?" 

"Hell no. Boss. We're old friends. We've been together for a 
long time," Gladstone said. "I picked you up when you didn't know 
one fork from another and I taught you how to wear a necktie and 
run a business. Between us, we've built a big business. Together, we're 
going to build an even bigger business. We're friends, old sport." 
Gladstone offered his hand and Mason solemnly shook it. 

"One thing. Mason, before you go," Gladstone said. "I've been 
thinking about your car and I think you should have a new one. Why 
don't you take it downtown to the dealer's tomorrow and trade for 
a new one? Or better still, we'll both go. We might be able to work 

Mason smiled, and the expression erased the strain from his face, 
and standing on the threshold of Gladstone's office, with the open 
door before him, he said, "Thanks, Glad. I think I'll get a red one 
this time, solid red. Thanks very much." 

As Mason moved out of the office, Gladstone sat at the prodi- 
gious desk, idly studying the photographs which hung on the walls. 
He knew now that he would soon have to bring in someone to take 
John Shaw's place. It was true, of course, that no one was going to 

Management Man: How He Works 147 

take Mason's place, no one could for that matter, but Gladstone 
recognized certain strains of truth in Shaw's accusations. Yes, it would 
be best to bring in one of those young eastern business school 
graduates. They always had a lot of new ideas and goodness knows, 
Gladstone thought, we could always use new ideas. 

Mason still smiled as he walked over to the hatrack and donned 
the wide-brimmed Stetson. He did not appear to notice Chalmers or 
Jeff Spires as he opened the ofEce door and walked out to his car. 
Heading into the dense Murphy Avenue traffic, he did not feel his 
customary annoyance toward the other cars. Today all of them were 
driven by benign and prosperous strangers. 

Accelerating gently so as not to collide with the car ahead. Mason 
turned on the radio, but did not hear the music. He began to whistle, 
softly, on key. He was still whistling when he drove into his driveway. 
He cut the motor and sat quietly, listening. Within the house, he 
could hear the distant sound of the washing machine motor and in 
a moment, Desiree's footsteps as she came to meet him. 




Our management age today has discussed, analyzed, evalu- 
ated, praised, or derided management and the manager, hut 
it is curious that very Uttle literature exists that attempts to 
evaluate the managerial mind itseU. The concept of the cor- 
poration is a far less trickier abstract with which to deal than 
the mind oi the manager himself who is after all a human 
being and at times a remarkably fallible one. 

Charles E. Summer, Jr., in this proEle of the managerial 
mind, clariRes the vital qualities that characterize the mana- 
gerial mind. Co-ordinator of the Executive Program at Arden 
House, a specialist in organization theory, as well as a pro- 
fessor in the Graduate School of Business at Columbia Uni- 
versity, he has had ready access to all phases of the manage- 
ment world. His discussion answers four important ques- 

Is the thinking of business executives characterized by certain 
well-deEned qualities and attitudes, as is the thinking of scien- 
tists, lawyers, and other professional men? 

How does the '^managerial mind'' resemble the **scienti£c" or 
*' professional" mind with respect to attitudes about facts, num- 
bers, theory, consistency, change, risk, and other questions? 

In what ways does the ''managerial mind" differ from or fall 
short of the intellectual qualities that we usuaJiy associate with 
doctors, lawyers, and scientists? 

What is the significance of these similarities and differences 
for businessmen and for business educators? 

* From: Harvard Business Review, January-February 1959. 


\ \ 

Management Man: How He Works ISl 


n the philosophy of science, art, and the professions we 
find fairly clear statements about the qualities of the 
"scientific mind/' the ''creative mind/' the ''engineering mind/' or 
the "legal mind." But we do not find such statements about the 
"managerial mind." To be sure, the men who manage the affairs of 
the world in industry, government, and the armed services are not 
scientists or artists or doctors. But in failing to state with some clarity 
the qualities of the managerial mind, we have denied both individual 
executives and society some very practical advantages. 

The professional manager sits by while others enunciate the noble 
qualities of the scientific or artistic mind, as if there were no realiza- 
tion that management decision making also can be complicated and 
intellectually difficult. And there is little recognition of standards 
which promote competence in management, as there is in the estab- 
lished professions, so that efforts to motivate and train men for 
administration are handicapped. Moreover, business schools lack the 
kind of clear, balanced concept of goals that has proved such an 
asset to professional schools. 

Note that I am not writing about ability. Nor am I writing about 
decision-making skills. Almost everyone — even a novelist here and 
there — recognizes that a good manager has these. My concern here 
is with common qualities of thinking, with attitudes, biases, predis- 
positions — in short, with those patterns of thought that enable us to 
characterize the executive and to predict how he will go about han- 
dling a problem, if not how he will decide it. 

For my purpose here, it is unnecessary to define all facets of the 
professional mind. We need only agree that a professional is a man 
who uses his mind and the knowledge of other people's minds to 
accomplish results in the real world of action. He is concerned with 
understanding the environment or natural order, predicting what will 
happen in it as it operates, and in most cases controlling it. It is this 
orientation toward action and results and solving action problems that 
identifies the intellectual qualities of a professional. 

The question of whether or not management is becoming a 
profession is also beside the point here. It stands to reason, however, 

J 52 The Managerial Mind 

that if mental qualities similar to those presented in this article are 
developed and accepted as standards, management will come much 
nearer to the status of a profession. Yet it will never be quite like any 
profession that we know today. The managerial mind is developing 
many similarities to scientific, engineering, medical, and legal minds, 
but also some differences. It is going its own way, working in an 
independent direction. Of course, this is as it should be, but the fact 
that the pattern is a strange one may explain why so many people 
have been so slow in recognizing the new intellectual stature of 

One more thing: in this discussion we shall be concerned only 
with the intellectual qualities of the manager. While these are vitally 
important, it should be remembered that other attributes are also 
important — moral, aesthetic, and creative qualities, for example, or 
knowledge and wisdom gained from experience. Indeed, from time 
to time the nonintellectual qualities may be a good deal more im- 
portant than the intellectual ones, both from the point of view of 
the company and of society at large. , 


The empirical qualities of the managerial mind are not new, in 
and of themselves. But they are combined in a different way, and 
they are given different emphasis, than in the case of the medical 
mind, say, or the engineering mind. What is especially noticeable is 
that the executive typically does not pursue any one kind of empirical 
reasoning to an extreme. Here, as elsewhere in this discussion, we shall 
find that no single attitude or predisposition dominates. Each seems 
to be followed in moderation, with the emphasis on the blend — on 
a way of thinking in its entirety, rather than on the individual 
ingredients. v ),;; ; - 

The Factual Attitude 

Alfred North Whitehead, the great philosopher and mathema- 
tician, tells us that scientists have always had a bias for observational 
and experimental investigation.^ Galileo's insistence on ''irreducible 

1 Science and the Modern World (New York, New American Library Edition, 
1948), pp. 9, 17. 

Management Man: How He Works 1S3 

and stubborn facts" led to a distrust of reasoning to the point where 
even today there is among some scientists the feehng that those 
whose methods involve patient observation of facts through experi- 
ments or analysis of past experience are ''greater" than those whose 
methods rely primarily on reason and logic. 

This first empirical quality, which might be called the factual 
attitude, is particularly valuable in the world of managerial action, 
where the manager has to cause or control specific events in his 
problem situation. It is too bad if either quick conclusions or imag- 
inative speculations yield decisions that are not in accordance with 
the real world of problems and facts. 

The factual attitude is very much in evidence in the annals of 
management. For example, when General Motors first decided to go 
into the diesel engine business, management got extensive facts on 
what kind of small locomotive was required and what it would take 
to design, produce, and sell such a product; then it methodically 
proceeded to base its actions on this evidence. Again, the careful 
long-range planning of many companies today attests to the im- 
portance of the factual attitude.^ 

Conversely, there are many examples of unsatisfactory results 
when facts are not gathered carefully before making decisions. For 
example, a number of studies show that the primary reason for failure 
of new business is optimistic speculation of owners who fail to be as 
factual as possible about projected sales, operating problems, capital 
requirements, and so on. 

However, the factual attitude can be overdone. If the admin- 
istrator is too possessed with the necessity of patience in getting all 
of the facts, he may fail on two counts: (1) In many decisions the 
facts bearing on a problem cannot be known. (2) Even if the various 
kinds of needed facts could be known, there may not be enough time 
to dig all of them out patiently. 

What is needed, therefore, is a modified form of the factual 
attitude, one that says, in effect, ''Have patience and a desire to get 
the facts, he reluctant to jump to conclusions, hut do not hesitate to 
use such reasoning and judgment as you must ii lack of facts or Jack 
of time prevents thorough research of a problem.'' 

In this respect the managerial mind is not unlike the medical or 

2 For a documentation of many companies' experience, see Long-Range Planning 
for Management, edited by David W. Evving (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1958). 

J 54 The Managerial Mind 

legal mind; the doctor must make decisions at times on the spur of the 
moment, and the lawyer may have to advise a client before a question 
of law can be settled by the courts or the legislature. But a modified 
factual attitude would do little credit to an aeronautical engineer or 
a research chemist. Here, in other words, we have the first in a series 
of likenesses and contrasts between management and the established 

The Quantitative Attitude 

A second empirical quality might be called the quantitative 
attitude. Philosophers of science tell us that scientists have a distinct 
''innate prejudice" for selecting only those facts in the environment 
which can be measured. One writer has noted: ''Kepler's deepest 
conviction was that nature is essentially mathematical, and all his 
scientific life was an endeavor to discover nature's mathematical 
harmonies. Galileo, also, had no doubt that mathematics is the one 
true key to natural phenomena."^ That this preference exists strongly 
even today is attested to by biologists, physicists, anthropologists, and 

The quantitative attitude satisfies two important needs of the 
scientist. It helps him to be objective, and it enables him to "prove" 
his relationships or laws — for instance, what will happen to x units 
of y variable if h variable changes by z units. 

This mathematical predisposition can also be of value to the 
executive. It can result in improved ways of doing things. The budget 
is an example, as are standard costs and financial ratios. Operations 
research, digital computers, probability and game theory, systems 
theory, automation, and such social sciences as applied anthropology 
are all adding to the possibilities for being "scientific" in the sense 
of measuring the consequences of managerial decisions. 

Efforts to quantify complex business problems have so often 
been successful that almost every businessman is familiar with at least 
a few of them — as for example: 

The work done in chemical process plants in scheduling complicated 
flows of by-products through linear equations. 

The efforts of Thomas Malone, a weather expert for The Travelers 

3 J. W. N. Sullivan, The Limitations of Science (New York, New American 
Library Edition, 1949), p. 128. 

Management Man; How He Works ISS 

Insurance Companies, and oil industry people to show what quantification 
can do to help control inventories of heating fuel, schedule refinery runs, 
schedule tanker shipments, and even plan capital investment. 

Most businessmen have also had numerous opportunities to 
learn what may happen if management does not have a quantitative 
predisposition — cases like that of the new owner of a large newspaper 
in the Midwest who discovered that the previous publisher had been 
losing money every year for 15 years on a job-order printing business, 
simply because he "hated figures" and failed to separate job printing 
from the newspaper in a quantitative fashion; or instances of com- 
panies continuing unprofitable lines, or continuing to serve territories 
and customers which cost more than their profit contribution, simply 
because nobody had time to worry with figures when there were more 
glamorous things to do. 

Interestingly enough, the quantitative attitude can be of great 
assistance in the executive's human relations. The objectivity of num- 
bers, rather than subjective emotion, is one road by which the indi- 
vidual can be understood by, and influenced by, others. This has been 
pointed out by social scientists, and it seems to fit the facts in the 
world of business, as evidenced, for instance, by General Electric's 
stress on the ''authority of facts'' as contrasted with the ''authority of 

Unlike the scientific mind, however, the managerial mind can 
give only qualified emphasis to the use of numbers; the beauty and 
preciseness of measurement can be admired only up to a point. 
Otherwise the decision maker may delay things while the patient 
dies, the war is lost, or the firm misses its opportunity. Business or- 
ganizations may need certain people who are deeply, zealously inter- 
ested in quantification, but the one who receives quantitative facts 
and has to incorporate them into judgmental actions in a limited time 
should not possess this temperament in excessive degree. 

Perhaps the modified predisposition for the manager would be 
something like: ''Strive ipatienily and creatively to prove the results of 
your decision hy searching for variables that can he measured^ hut do 
not let yourseli he enchanted hy mathematical systems to the point 
where you postpone or shun judgment when action is necessary/' 

Here, by the way, we see an interesting difference in the man- 
agerial mind from the mind of most professional groups. Parts of the 

1S6 The Managerial Mind 

company organization can be as deeply committed to quantitative 
techniques as any scientists are, and the pohcy-making executive him- 
self may once have been closely associated with such projects; but 
when he is making decisions as a member of top management, he 
must vigorously resist the temptation to become beholden to any 
one point of view. This is a problem which is generally insignificant 
for scientists, lawyers, doctors, and so on. They work in homogeneous 
groups. By contrast, the heterogeneity of a business organization 
requires a very high order of judgment and mental discipline on the 
part of the manager. Indeed, far from making him unprofessional, 
this may really do a great deal to justify professional status for the 


In spite of what appears to be a bias among some men of science 
for the factual, most scientists recognize the necessity for a delicate 
interaction and balance between experiment and observation, on the 
one hand, and speculation and reasoning, on the other. The scientist 
will, of course, speculate and theorize in the same mathematical and 
physical terms as he observes and proves, but a difference in approach 
is involved. 

The Theoretical Attitude 

The first quality of the deductive mind seems to be a faith and 
belief in the similarity and harmony of events over time. With this 
goes an interest in searching out concepts that catalogue these events 
into the same meaning, and an interest in reasoning out laws that 
govern what happens to one concept when another changes. This is 
the theoretical attitude; and while it is most often associated in the 
popular mind with science, it has many uses in business. Thus: 

We have a concept called "inventory" and other concepts called "cur- 
rent assets," "current liabilities," "current ratio," and "bank loans." The 
financial executive may know that when the inventory goes up and is paid 
for with bank loans, the current ratio decreases as current assets and cur- 
rent liabilities are increased by the same amount. He can deduce other 
future events from these relationships: when the inventory is sold and the 

Management Man; How He Works J 57 

cash used to build a building, this converts current assets to fixed assets, and 
the current ratio decreases. He then deduces what will happen to other 
parts of the business when the current ratio declines; there is a whole chain 
of effects. 

There are hundreds of these concepts and relationships in the 
functions of finance, sales, personnel, manufacturing, and the rest. 

Now the really great minds in mathematics and deductive physics 
are minds which have peculiarly strong predispositions of this nature. 
Albert Einstein made this clear when he said: 

I believe with Schopenhauer that one of the strongest motives that 
lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful 
crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters on one's own ever shift- 
ing desires.* 

In other words, by inventing new concepts abstracted from the 
problems, events, and situations in the real world around us, the 
scientist escapes to what is, for him, a more pleasant world of theory 
and reason. 

This kind of attitude can be most valuable to the professional 
"on the firing line." In cutting through the complex difficulty of 
running a business or an army, one is completely lost if he cannot 
catalogue the confusion of facts and problems into a more simplified 
meaning so that his mind can handle them. Instead of reacting to 
someone else's theory as ''egghead," or quickly saying, ''Give me facts 
not theory," many a businessman has found it helpful to ponder the 
operations researcher's "model" of the firm, the economist's "laws" 
for the economy, and the social scientist's hypothesis about the rela- 
tion between morale, participation, and decentralization. Indeed, I 
wonder if business leaders and business schools might not do well to 
support more of the kind of training (both in logic and semantics) 
that encourages interest in "theory spinning" and the use of theory 
in practice. 

Of course, in order to prevent the professional manager from 
resting too long on "Cloud 9" rather than in the real world, the 
theoretical attitude, too, needs modifying. Perhaps it could be stated 
thus: "Reasoning and quiet thought, and use of theoiy horn otheis, 
can be valuable in piofessional practice, provided I maintain a healthy 

4 Albert Einstein, Essays in Science (New York, Philosophical Library, 1934), p. 2, 

J 58 The Managerial Mind 

distrust and a willingness to abandon theoretical concepts if they do 
not Et my specific problem." 

Predisposition for Truth 

A second logical quality that is useful to the professional execu- 
tive might be termed the predisposition for truth. 

The attitude of Aristotelian logic is one that says, "I must define 
my terms precisely, and test each statement, before using them as 
premises in arguments and drawing any conclusions." The modern 
semanticists, who have developed a supplementary method, would 
declare, "Every word must be tested and traced to the abstract char- 
acteristics that connect the word to the object it represents in the real 
world; only then do we know what is truth." 

The quality of an executive's thinking and the workability of his 
ideas are dependent upon the truth and preciseness of statements with 
which he reasons. Thus, the concept of truth is not as ''long hair" as 
it sounds; on it rests the possibilities of executive decisions working 
or not working. 

Like the other qualities of mind taken from science and logic, 
this attitude must be modified for the professional manager. Often- 
times, he must deal with fuzzy concepts, and he cannot take the time 
to retire to a cloister and reduce his problem to fundamental truth. 
The logician, seeing an ambiguous object and unable to identify it, 
may refuse to deal with it — ''morale," for instance — unless its identity 
can be thoroughly investigated. The executive, on the other hand, 
must sometimes grab whatever concepts he can use as factors in his 

The modified attitude toward truth might sound something like 
this: '7 must be as precise in reasoning from facts and premises as 
time will allow, and I must search out premises and conclusions that 
are true, but I must not shrink from the problem because some state- 
ments are impossible to define precisely/' To illustrate; 

Suppose that the president of a small but growing company is faced 
with hiring more and more people and assigning them work, all of which 
must be coordinated to achieve the goals of this growing business. In assign- 
ing a pattern of work and decision making, he reasons that he should create 
departments for the operating work (planning and deciding the details of 
jobs, explaining and clarifying work, appraising results, receiving informa- 

Manao:ernent Man: How He Works 159 

tion from the workers themselves in order to appraise, and so on), and 
either hire staff assistants or decentrahze the managing to the departments 
themselves. He may further reason that the choice between these alternatives 
is best determined by certain factors : human needs, the speed necessary for 
decision, the coordination required between parts of the work flow, and 
other matters. 

A few writers have given some precision to the meaning of the terms 
just used — ^'department," 'planning," ''staff," and so on. But semanticists 
and others urge the executive to seek out and use more precise and funda- 
mental terms, such as would give a concrete, clearly defined reality to the 
kind of decentralization, to the authority of staff men, to the role of the 
department in the revised organization picture, and so forth. Obviously 
this would be a major and impractical undertaking, especially at this stage 
of the development of management. 

Accordingly, the modified attitude toward truth would lead the execu- 
tive to do only the best he can in the time he has available, and to go 
ahead and use the terms that have proved to be the most useful tools in 
his thinking. He could not take a leave of absence and retire to build de- 
ductive models, or search out more fundamental premises. 

The fuzziness of so many management terms and concepts points 
up a shortcoming of the executive mind that has no parallel in the 
sciences and professions (with the possible exception of a few areas 
of the law). The situation suggests that one of the main goals of 
business scholarship should be to increase both our experimental and 
deductive knowledge of business practices and policies to the end that 
the words we use symbolize reality more accurately than they now do. 
I wonder, for example, if members of faculties of business schools 
should not have some time (or more time) for model building, just 
as they should have time for gathering ''practical'' facts from the 
business world. As both types of knowledge become available to future 
executives over the years, the compromise with the scientist's predis- 
position for truth will become less pronounced. 


A third logical quality of the professional executive is a modified 
version of the "validity" attitude in formal logic. So far we have been 
talking about whether statements of fact are "true" or "false" in the 
executive's reasoning. Now, we turn to whether or not the arguments 

J 60 The Manageria] Mind 

in his reasoning are valid — that is, whether the premises as stated are 
consistent among themselves rather than contradictory, and whether 
the statement of conclusions and decisions is consistent with the 
statements of premises. 

An excellent example of logical form in industry is the way 
decisions are prepared by management for action by the board of 
directors of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey: projects are usually 
prepared in the form of proposals (conclusions) with supporting state- 
ments as to the positive and negative results of the action. This is a 
deductive form and is the reverse of another sequence that is often 
used elsewhere — the classical form of inductive argument, where a 
series of statements is built up from lower-order statements based on 
facts and then is followed by a conclusion. 

The reasons why the manager must emphasize consistency within 
limits are similar to those mentioned in connection with the attitude 
about truth. Both logic and semantics, as disciplines of the mind, 
may take long, patient reflection, away from the day-to-day pressures 
of operating decisions. And too often that amount of time simply 
does not exist. 

The discipline of mind which the manager needs should be 
something like this: ''Clear, precise reasoning horn premises to con- 
clusions is necessary if my professional decisions and proposed actions 
are to he workahle. However, I cannot expect to discover scientiEc 
laws in every decision through strictly valid arguments, and sometimes 
it will he necessary to substitute reasonableness' in a broad sense for 
syllogistic precision in thinking.'' 

In Defense of Modification 

It is not always clear to observers why businessmen must modify 
the traditional logical attitudes as much as they do. For instance, if 
the manager were to take time and insist on more truth and con- 
sistency, might he not save time for everybody in the end? Personally, 
I doubt it. Let me illustrate: 

Last year I attended an executive program designed for top managers 
from a cross section of companies and from the government. A nationally 
known writer on logic and clear thinking was discussing the pitfalls and 
fallacies that are common if one does not make use of precise syllogistic 

Management Man: How He Works J 61 

logic. His thesis seemed to be an exhortation for executives to use such 

In the question period which followed, the speaker was caught by the 
audience in two rather definite errors in his own thinking — errors of ''over- 
generalization" — and he seemed quite unprepared to handle his predica- 

The reason was: he did not see that by standing in front of a group 
and answering questions he was transformed from a logician and a thinker 
to a man of action. He saw the necessity for acting by answering as help- 
fully as possible, and he acted. 

Now this man, had he been a precise logician first and foremost, in- 
stead of a logician equally interested in helping this group of executives, 
would have declined to answer questions until he had time to state them 
clearly, retire from the platform for as long a period as needed, and think 
through an answer. In the case in point, he tried to be both a scholar and 
a man of action at the same time; hence his trouble. 

The lesson to be learned from this episode is clear. If decisions 
are reasoned sloppily with low degrees of validity and truth, the 
executive can make them in the time period required but they may 
be unworkable. On the other hand, if he insists on such high degrees 
of validity and truth that he is removed from his job into long periods 
of abstract thought, he may have to stay on the platform and say '1 
don't know" to every question, and never get going with actions at 
all. Somewhere in between is the only practical course — but this 
requires another set of quite different qualities. 


We turn now to a group of action-centered qualities which 
discipline the managerial mind. Those accustomed to thinking in a 
scientific way may immediately challenge these qualities and say, 
'They are not intellectual." Since this misconception is one which 
prevents both professionals and university teachers who teach profes- 
sionals from seeing the importance of action-centered qualities and 
consciously trying to develop them, a word is needed to say why they 
are intellectual in nature. 

Any belief or predisposition which influences the way a person 
thinks, the sequences involved in mental thought, or the way he 
attacks a problem can be thought of as an intellectual attitude. This 

162 The Managerial Mind 

is one of the meanings of the phrase ''disciphned way of thinking." 
A scientist has one set of predispositions or beHefs, an artist another 
set, professionals another set, and so on. 

In the discussion that follows, we shall look at a set of attitudes 
that influence the way the action-centered mind works as it tries to be 
factual and rational. We shall see great variances between the man- 
agerial mind and the scientific mind, but important similarities in 
the intellectual biases of executives, lawyers, and doctors. 

Desire to Change Things 

Remembering Einstein's statement, quoted earlier, about how 
the scientist and artist try to escape from the world of current action, 
we might say that the professional has a somewhat opposite desire to 
take actions that have results. The lawyer wants to win cases as well 
as to present a brilliant argument. The surgeon wants to cure people 
as well as to know anatomy. The architect wants to build buildings, 
the engineer to build bridges, the army general to win campaigns. And 
the executive wants to get output. 

There are a number of ways in which executives have been 
observed to demonstrate this quality. Some have moved from a com- 
fortable, safe, high-status position in a well-run company to accept a 
position with a company that is in trouble, is lagging behind its 
competitors, or is 'Vorn-out." Such tough problem situations may be 
viewed as a challenge. In the same way, the executive who takes 
pleasure in turning his attention to the ''messy'' departments in his 
division may be exhibiting this quality. It also shows up, on a more 
modest plane, in the desire to make improvements in an otherwise 
good situation, or in an ''itch to do something new." Frequently this 
leads to innovations which show immediate results — witness, for 
example, the record of the Prudential Insurance Company in the last 
few years. 

To be sure, the desire to change things may be more characteristic 
of "chiefs" than of "braves." For example, William H. Whyte, Jr. 
would say that the "organization man"^ does not feel much like 
departing from tested experience, and Chris Argyris would say that 
people who start out "healthy," with a desire to grow and to produce 
innovations, instead tend to adapt to the organization and become 

5 The Organization Man (New York, Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1956). 

Management Man: How He Works 163 


apathetic and disinterested in the company and its goals.^ Both of 
these are probably overstatements, but the warning is a legitimate one. 
Certainly it is management at all levels that needs a disposition toward 
action, since small improvements in processes and techniques can add 
up to the equivalent of ''big'' innovations. 

This desire to change things in the real world is perhaps quite 
different from that of the pure scientist who wants to be basic, factual, 
logical, and to contribute to the truth and validity of knowledge. The 
scientist may in fact want to change things — but, if so, he is not 
overly concerned about just when. It may be in the very distant future. 
For example, Arthur Burns, former adviser to the President of the 
United States, has stated his preference for long-run results accom- 
plished through scholarly ideas, rather than current results obtained 
through operating as a professional economist in government.'^ 

Timely Action 

Top executives, in addition to desiring to change things in the 
real world, should have a predisposition for timely action. John L. 
Burns, president of Radio Corporation of America, a man with a 
doctorate in physical science, has put the attitude this way: 'Td 
rather be president than be right" — by which he means simply that 
when timeliness and speed of decision are necessary, truth and validity 
must sometimes rank secondary. 

There seem to be at least two ways in which an executive can 
fail to demonstrate this vital quality of timeliness: 

( 1 ) He can insist on a deluge of facts without any forthright conclu- 
sion. Examples of this are familiar to most businessmen (although seldom 
recorded). It is also interesting to note that military history is full of cases 
where commanders refused to act because they demanded more facts. 
General McClellan, for instance, made this mistake when he followed Lee 
into Virginia. 

(2) The executive can postpone action for a long time on the grounds 
that "we have to wait and see." What he may really mean is that he is 
afraid to make a move until all the facts are in. By the time they are in, of 
course, it will probably be too late to accomplish much. 

6 Personality and Organization: The Confiict Between the System and the Individ- 
ual (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1957); and 'The Organization: What Makes It 
Healthy?" HBR November-December 1958, p. 107. 

'^ "An Economist in Government," Columbia University Forum, Winter 1957, p. 4. 

J 64 The Managerial Mind 

Judgmental Qualities 

The term ''judgment'' is one that has caused much confusion. It 
is usually described only in the most general terms. F. R. Collbohm, 
president of the Rand Corporation, for instance, recently said: ''What 
is Judgment? Judgment is just experience."^ Certainly judgment is 
based to a great extent on experience, but describing it so simply does 
not, in my opinion, do the term justice. The role of judgment can be 
made more meaningful if the word is broken down and analyzed. 

Executives and all men of action must many times try to make 
meaning out of their problems and solve them without doing certain 
things that the scientist or logician does in his patient search for truth 
and validity. For each of the scientific devices by which scholars elim- 
inate risk from their thinking, there is a corresponding judgment or 
risk that the man of action often must take if he is to accomplish 
results in the real world. These various kinds of judgment can be 
looked at as conceptual judgment, quantity judgment, weight judg- 
ment, and whole problem judgment: 

Conceptual judgment results from the fact that the executive cannot 
reduce the ideas he works with to fundamental concepts, either by science 
(experimentation and generalization) or by logic (reasoning backward to 
fundamental premises). The physicist deals with forces and mass, atoms 
and electrons; the chemist deals with atoms and molecules; and the anato- 
mist deals with corpuscles and cells. On the other hand, the management 
of a company like General Foods must deal with such big, multifaceted 
symbols as "customer service," "product line," "duplication of effort," 
"jobbers," and others in order to reason out its policy of a single sales force 
selling a product line to customers. 

Use of such imprecise or "sloppy" variables in a problem is an attempt 
by the managerial mind to create "big" thinking tools to include a host of 
other minor variables. If the problem could be broken down to funda- 
mental variables (which it cannot), it would be so complex it could not be 

The nature of quantity judgment and weight judgment have been 
mentioned already. The managements of Du Pont and General Motors 
cannot say, "If we decentralize 68,000 decisions to the divisions, morale 
will go up 5 degrees, speed of decision will increase 35 miles per hour, or 
development of lower executives will accelerate at a rate of 16 foot-pounds 

8 "Scientific Aids to Decision-Making: A Perspective," American Management As- 
sociation, General Management Series, No. 187 (1957), p. 43. 

Management Man; How He Works 165 

per minute." Rather, the managerial mind makes an estimate of such factors 
as the cost of employing general executives to head independent divisions, a 
second estimate of the effect of the proposal on decision speed, increased 
motivation, and so on, and then reaches a decision. 

Whole problem judgment results from the fact that the executive 
cannot eliminate all of the thousands of factors in a problem, narrow it 
down to two or three factors, and then triumphantly say that the value of 
such-and-such a policy or course of action can be proved. 

Shortly after the Korean War, the International Business Machines 
Corporation was confronted with a problem of whether initially to produce 
a small or large number of Model 650 computers. Now, if the company's 
president, Thomas Watson, had been a scientist instead of an executive, 
then he might have proved that ''if manufacturing costs are held constant, 
capital investment expenditure is held constant, sales and advertising 
methods are held constant, number of plant personnel is held constant, 
and materials costs are held constant, a change of 180 in computer output 
will yield $5 million in sales." Even if this were a triumphant truth, and 
180 computers did sell for $5 million, the discovery would be almost use- 
less, for manufacturing-unit cost would go down, the number of plant 
personnel would vary, and so forth. 

Accordingly, the executive must try to grapple with thousands of chain 
effects, both inside and outside the company, when he makes a major de- 
cision. In doing so, he takes a judgmental risk of being wrong in his evalua- 
tion of the relationships. 

Suspicion of Science 

One of the most difficult balances to maintain in the managerial 
mind is that between respect for scientific theory and a healthy sus- 
picion of it. In business there is a long history of fads which have 
come and gone. They stand as evidence that both ''good" and "bad" 
science are offered to the businessman, and that the former can be 
used both effectively and ineffectively. To indicate the range of 

As far back as 1850, Jeremy Bentham tried to help the English govern- 
ment make pohcies for running the country by his "felicific" calculus. His 
purpose was to enable the Parliament to choose between alternative laws by 
measuring the pleasures and pains each inflicted on the population. 

Frederick Taylor's scientific management has been pursued vigor- 

166 The Managerial Mind 

ously by many companies. At times past, a large number of companies ap- 
plied it as a formula. 

Just before World War II, a consultant named Charles E. Bedeaux 
convinced the managements of a large number of corporations that his 
Bedeaux System of wage payments could equate human effort and "rest" 
with technology and output. Among the companies using his theory were 
American Rolling Mills, Campbell Soup, Diamond Match, General Elec- 
tric, Du Pont, Eastman Kodak, Swift, Postum, and Goodrich.^ 

Today, many competent social scientists and mathematicians are 
trying to help management solve problems. We read of studies v^hich 
indicate that productivity can be increased if employees "participate," 
or that morale can be increased by less authority and pressure from 
supervisors. Yet I know of one company where a study of this kind 
was performed (and published), which today believes there ''is some- 
thing wrong" with such formulas. 

Perhaps the key to such misunderstandings between scientists 
and professionals lies in the ''closed system" idea versus the "whole 
problem" concept. Social scientists frequently stress that their mission 
is to help the executive understand his problem, and not to tell him 
what to do.^^ They are no more physically or mentally able to tell the 
executive what to do than the executive is himself. But behavioral 
scientists can help to illuminate the human variables just as the 
engineer, accountant, marketing-research man, and others isolate the 
variables associated with technology, costs, consumer preferences, and 
the numerous other factors that get mixed into the decision-making 

What I am saying is that both scientists and managers should 
have a reluctance to think that scientific formulations can solve action 
problems in all of their complexity. A manager errs if he grabs onto 
"participation" or "scientific management" or the "Bedeaux System" 
and employs it as a formula for an action problem. Scientists also err 
if they write their publications so as to imply that their understandings 
will work on a broad and general basis, without adjustment or change, 
in the world of action. 

One reason for a healthy suspicion of theory is that usually it is 
impossible, or impractical, to quantify the variables in a decision. 

9 The New Yorker, September 22, 1945, p. 30. 

10 See Edward C. Bursk, "Opportunities for Persuasion," HBR September-October 
1958, p. 111. 

Management Man: How He Works 167 

Certainly "morale" and, as many executives know, even ''profit" can- 
not be precisely measured. 

In advanced research with computers, in the more sophisticated 
econometric formulas, and in operations research models, the mathe- 
matician usually either ( 1 ) selects only a few variables that can be 
measured and leaves the other variables to the executive for judg- 
ment; (2) includes more variables but weights them arbitrarily, as is 
done in some of the business games now popular; or (3) looks for 
and attacks only those problems which lend themselves to a high 
degree of quantification. In any of these three cases, both the scientist 
and the manager can understand each other better if they appreciate 
the proper use and limitation of quantitative science. 

I do not mean that the executive should take a pessimistic view 
of the progress in social science and in operations research. The long, 
patient identification of fundamental variables, their quantification, 
and the fitting together of theory will yield better solution of prob- 
lems over the years. But we must be patient and realize that, while 
we are moving, there is still a long way to go. 

Objectivity & Values 

The scientist strives above all for something called ''objectivity." 
This is the belief that his mission is the patient and dispassionate 
study of the environment — of the basic facts in nature and of the 
way different factors influence one another. The professional manager 
seeks objectivity, too, but under different conditions. For example, 
the search for factual and logical truth is not his highest governing 
objective when timing of actions and results are also important. Again, 
unlike most scientists, he is willing boldly to enter debates on moral 
and ethical questions, and to have research influenced, stopped, or 
changed by subjective factors. 

Why does the manager or the lawyer allow himself to be in- 
fluenced more by moral and ethical considerations than the scientist? 
The answer, it seems to me, does not have so much to do with 
personalities and tradition as with the time dimension in which these 
men work. In most professions the practitioners are faced immediately 
with the results of their decisions; hence they are naturally impelled 
to take moral and ethical values into consideration along with objec- 
tive "facts." To illustrate: 

1 68 The Managerial Mind 

The doctor, believing in value of human life, keeps a patient alive 
in the midst of suffering. 

The lawyer, believing in the right of every person to have his case 
presented and understood, defends the criminal. 

The business executive, believing in the dignity of individuals, may 
refrain from firing an aged employee. 

By contrast, scientists often do not have to face immediate re- 
sults. Whether or not results are ''good" or "bad" to their way of 
thinking may not be knov^n for years, if ever. Those who worked with 
quantum and relativity theories did not know whether the atomic 
bomb would be used on Hiroshima or whether atomic power plants 
would be constructed to heat and light the homes of mankind. 

If progress in science operated so that one day a scientist worked 
in his laboratory and the results of his work were available to use in 
the everyday world the next day, perhaps he too would incorporate 
nonrational values into his research. 


A better understanding of the qualities of the managerial mind 
ought to stimulate business education and management training. For 
the executive on the job it would add meaning and nobility of pur- 
pose to the tasks of getting things done through people. And it would 
help in the crystallization of standards for the businessman to measure 
up to. 

How does a person develop the qualities earlier described in this 
article? Generally speaking, it seems to me that he makes the greatest 
progress when he can: 

1. Become acquainted with the substantive knowledge available and 
with the particular attitudes and predispositions that distinguish the suc- 
cessful manager. 

2. Observe the mistakes executives make when they do not apply 
these qualities. 

3. Experience successes and failures of this kind himself in the 
presence of his colleagues or superiors. 

As for formal training methods, management might take a cue 
from law. In developing qualities of the legal mind, law school moot 
courts and the study of precedent have been most helpful. Similarly, 

Management Man; How He Works 169 

in training the managerial mind, Socratic questioning, along with 
skillful teaching of theory, should be helpful. The study of cases is 
excellent, provided it exposes the executive or student in all three of 
the ways just mentioned. The type of oral examination currently used 
for scholarly degrees suggests a kind of discussion that can effectively 
force thinking through action issues and create an awareness of mis- 
takes in fact and logic. Finally, business games ought to be useful in 
developing the logical and empirical as well as action qualities earlier 

Of course, there is nothing quite as compelling as the example 
of business leaders in the field. The more they can personally demon- 
strate the qualities of the managerial mind, and the more they can 
make it a living reality, the more meaningful will be the efforts of 
everyone in adding to the stature of management. 

11 See G. R. Andlinger, "Business Games— Play One!" HBR March-April 1958, 
p. 115; and "Looking Around: What Can Business Games Do?" HBR July-August 
1958, p. 147. 




"Willis Wayde, before he went to sleep, could shut his 
eyes and see every detail of the Harcourt Place. He never 
owned it^ and he had never coveted it, hut as his father might 
have said in engineering language, it did serve as a base oi 
reference. In engineering when you set out to make a map, 
you started running your line and reading off from some 
Exed mark, and in life too, everyone possessed a solid start- 
ing point." 

With these words, John P. Marquand began his famous 
novel Sincerely, Willis Wayde. This solid starting point in 
Willis Wayde's life was unfortunately quicksand that more 
than once sucked him into insincerity. 

When Sincerely, Willis Wayde was published, the review- 
ers had a difficult time evaluating it. It was a good story, as 
Marquand novels always are, but the critics decided that 
Willis Wayde was simply an insincere heel. The reviews on 
that book, perhaps more than anything else, indicated the 
wide difference between the concept of the businessman held 
by many people in the Geld of letters and the businessman as 
the man of business knows him today. We have chosen to 
represent Willis Wayde here by the famous scene in which 
he Enally comes to terms with that "frame of reference'' the 
Harcourt family. It's obvious in every line that Marquand did 
not think that Willis Wayde could ever quite come to 

* From: Sincerely, WiJlis Wayde (Boston: Little, Brown and 
Co.) 1955. 


172 Sincerely, Willis Wayde 

terms with himsdi, but he is surely not portrayed as an evil 
man. He tries not to hurt anyone deh'berately. He is not, as 
far as he can be aware of it, motivated hy cruelty or hos- 
tility, hut he is in ever pursuit of that one woman he cannot 
reach and cannot really understand, the hitch goddess Suc- 
' cess. He had little time for friendship, little time for wide 

ranging sensitivity, and yet unlike many other Marquand 
heroes, he had warmth and appeal that allowed a woman to 
love him and love him sincerely, just the way he was. 
'' y'-' ' ' l'^^' Frank Oppenheimer, lawyer and critic, has pointed out 
very astutely why Marquand spoke out so eloquently for 
management man. ''The work of John P. Marquand'' he 
says, "has developed from the regional to the universal — 
from the problems of a minute fringe of the American peo- 
ple to the problems of the managers who run the companies 
which employ two-thirds of gainfully employed Americans. 
Thus it is concerned with the core of American civilization, 
and it has diagnosed the degenerative symptoms radiating 
from that core with clinical insight and constructive pessi- 

Marquand was above all essentially a storyteller. The story 
he tells is completely of our time, and the world he de- 
scribes is the world of the management age that we all know 
so well. We all know Willis Wayde, and we all may have 
felt the sting of his ''sincerity' as well as our own. 

Management Man: How He Works 173 

± k( 

he art of persuasion, Willis believed, was the very 
keystone of American business and the basis of Ameri- 
can industrial prestige, and he was never more convinced of its 
importance than during his talk with Bill and Bess. Without exag- 
geration, never in his life had he so keenly wanted two people to 
understand and sympathize with his point of view and to agree with 
his conclusions. It would have been unthinkable to have quarreled 
after so many years. It was a time for a sincere interchange of reaction, 
a time when every question must be answered. 

The strength of his approach, as he talked to Bill and Bess, lay in 
his sincere sympathy. No one knew better than he how genuinely 
the Harcourts had regarded the conduct of the Harcourt Mill as a 
family obligation. In his own small way, he told them, he shared that 
obligation. He knew that Bess and Bill looked upon the workers of 
the Harcourt Mill, as he did too, almost as members of the family, 
and why not? There were dozens he could name — because he never 
liked to regard labor as a commodity — whose families had worked 
there for three generations. This was a proud record and Willis shared 
in the Harcourt's pride — just a little. He shared this fine tradition, 
having been brought up in it like Bess and Bill, and he was as loyal 
to it as any Harcourt. And yet — and yet they were all old enough now 
to see how times were changing, and even traditions had to be 
reactivated — sometimes. 

Without delving into the history of American industry, they were 
all aware of the almost explosive expansion of business that was going 
on around them. He hated to say it, but they would have to face a 
painful fact. The day of family ownership in business was disappear- 
ing. Within a radius of fifty miles of where they were sitting, there 
were hundreds of factories that had been in family hands for over a 
century now being merged into larger groups. There was nothing to 
be ashamed of in this situation, for merging, very frankly, set new 
blood and new ambition coursing through fine old arteries. This was 
not exactly a happy simile, as he could tell from Bess Ewing s 
changed expression. 

J 74 Sincerely, Willis Wayde 

''Sorry, Bess," he said, "I didn't mean to get poetic, but believe 
me, basically the thought is sound." 

And it was — so sound that Willis was carried away on the wings 
of it. There was no use standing against change. One had to accept 
it as one accepted old age and death — not that he meant for a single 
moment that the Harcourt Mill or the Harcourt tradition would 
dissolve if it merged with Simcoe Rubber Hose and Belting. Eventu- 
ally the time was bound to come when they would have to sell the 
Harcourt Mill because, very frankly, it could not stand alone as an 
isolated unit. Frankly — because they were all talking almost like 
brothers and sisters now — in his opinion the Harcourt Mill would 
have closed its doors long ago because of competition if he had not 
happened to think of integrating the Planeroid patents with Harcourt 
when he was at Rahway Belt. Fortunately at the moment Harcourt 
Associates was in a fine position. They had many assets which might 
never be so valuable again, which explained why P. L. Nagel, whom 
he hoped Bill and Bess would get to meet and love as much as he 
did, had made this generous offer. All change was painful, but very 
conceivably there might never be such a chance again. Willis was 
reluctant, being humanly proud of Harcourt's achievement, but — to 
encapsulate all his thought — he must recommend that the stock- 
holders accept this offer, and he knew that Bill and Bess, when they 
thought it over, would stand right there with him to be counted. 

You could always tell from the feel of things around you whether 
or not a presentation had moved toward success. It gave Willis a fine 
glow of pride that he had been sincere and had used the straight- 
forward approach without dialectic tricks. He had not lost their 
attention for an instant, but it might have been dangerous to have 
gone on further. 

''Well," he said, "Fm afraid that was a pretty tough sermon, and 
I really did feel a couple of times that I was sort of in the pulpit, but 
I do think that's about the picture as it looks to me, and now I know 
you'll have a lot of things to ask." 

Bill was the first one to speak. He rose from the captain's chair 
in which he had been sitting, walked to the portable bar, and poured 
the ice water from the Martini shaker. 

"That was quite a speech," he said. "I never knew you could lay 
it on the line like that. Fm always convinced by the last person who 
talks to me but that's because Fm said by little sister here to have 

Management Man: How He Works 175 

a weak character. Maybe Bess had better pick up the thread of the 
discourse while I mix another round of drinks. Will you have one 
now, Willis?" 

''Er — well, no thank you, Bill, not at the moment,'' Willis said. 
''Not that I won't have one later." 

Bess was the one, of course, whom Willis was watching, because 
he valued her reaction as much as he valued her opinion. He was too 
well aware of her devastating observation and her capacities of derision 
not to feel uneasy. There flashed unexpectedly across his mind the 
occasion when she had compared him to Uriah Heep, and he dis- 
missed this from his thoughts as abruptly as he could. It had never 
struck Willis that Bess's lower lip was so nearly a replica of Mr. Henry 
Harcourt's, or that her eyes, though of a different color, had the same 
qualities of contemplation he remembered in old H.H. Willis was 
happy to observe that Bess looked intensely serious. At least she was 
not in the mood to ask some frivolous or disconcerting question. 

'I'm glad you've been so frank, Willis," she said. "I know you 
have been." 

"Why, Bess," Willis answered, "I couldn't possibly be anything 

"And Fm glad you feel the way Father and all the rest of us do 
about the mill," Bess said. "I know it's old-fashioned, and I suppose 
we'll have to face the inevitable, but there is one thing I'm sure we 
will all want to know. That offer will make us quite rich, but I'd like 
to know, if we're bought out, what assurance there is that those people 
won't close the mill. There is still our obligation to the people work- 
ing there." 

Of course he had known that the question was coming, just as 
he had known previously that Sylvia would ask it. 

"Bess, dear," Willis said, "of course I knew you'd bring that 
matter up, and it is the sixty-four-dollar question, isn't it, as they say? 
Frankly it's been bothering me from the first moment that P. L. Nagel 
approached me with this proposition. Believe me, I've been right to 
the mat with P.L. on this subject, and in that connection I think I 
can deliver some reassuring news — not, mind you, that anyone can 
ever promise anything beyond the foreseeable future — you know that, 
don't you, Bess?" 

He never forgot that he had made this proviso and he saw Bess 
nod her assent to it. 

176 Sincerely J Willis Wayde 

''Bill/' he said, ''since you are being barkeep maybe I would like 
just a rather small one after all." He must not be tense, he was telling 
himself. It looked better to appear relaxed. 

"Thanks, Bill/' he said, "and as one Martini authority to another, 
my heartiest congratulations. Well, I hesitate to obtrude my personal 
problems at this time but here's the news I was speaking of. It seems 
they're been looking for a new president at Simcoe, and well, to make 
matters brief, they've offered it to me — first vice president to start 
with, and president when Mr. Nagel becomes chairman of the board. 
It's a pretty hard matter to turn down when I remember Sylvia and 
the kids." 

He raised his hand quickly when he saw that Bess was about 
to speak. 

"Please, Bess," he said, "just let me make my point." He leaned 
slightly forward in his chair to emphasize his point and allowed his 
voice to drop to a lower scale. "If we should sell out to them and if 
I should take that position, you know and I know, Bess, that the 
Harcourt Mill and all your feelings about it will be one of my first 
cares. In fact, Bess, P. L. Nagel and I have had some discussion about 
integrating Harcourt Associates and we've pretty well decided to leave 
it where it is and call it the Harcourt Division, so the name will still 
be there." 

He should have realized long ago that the very fact that he 
would be the president of that larger company was a favorable 

"Why, Willis," Bess said, and she smiled and not at all in a 
mocking way, "that makes everything sound much better. Why didn't 
you tell us that before?" 

"Oh, it was only a personal matter, Bess," he told her, "and, as I 
said, you and Bill have problems of your own." 

Bess leaned forward and rested her hand on his knee for a 

"Well, I'm awfully glad for your sake, Willis," she said. "In fact, 
if things happen that way I guess I'm pretty glad for all of us." 

Then Willis had the most glorious feeling that anyone can have, 
a conviction that everything was resolved, and this was due to Bess. 
There was no one in the world quite like Bess Harcourt. She had 
made him feel happy and at peace with himself for the first time 
since P. L. Nagel had passed the word. It was all due to Bess, to her 

Management Man: How He Worlcs 177 

generosity and her lovely understanding. It had not been necessary at 
all to bring up the subject of Roger Harcourt or Mrs. Henry 
Harcourt's trustee. After all there was nothing like an old friendship. 

Yet Willis had learned long ago to conceal blatant feelings of 
triumph and elation. It was a part of office discipline always to be 
measured and controlled. 

''Good-by, Bill/' he said, when he escorted them around the 
glassy island of cubicles to the reception room. ''Aside from every- 
thing else, it's been swell seeing you and I hope we can repeat the 
process soon again." 

He meant it, because he had always had a warm spot in his heart 
for Bill, and then he remembered that this was a hackneyed phrase. 
In all the years he had known Bill he never could help liking him. 

"Good-by, Bess, dear," he said. "May I?" 

''Well," Bess said, and she laughed, just as she had in the old 
days, "it wouldn't be the first time, Willis." 

She turned her cheek to him and he kissed it, in the most formal 
possible way, since Bill was there. 

"And it won't be the first time I've thought you were a very 
wonderful person, Bess," Willis said, "and I know furthermore that 
it won't be the last." 

It was a quarter before six when Bill and Bess left, and the office 
was deserted except for Nancy Sullivan at the switchboard and Hank 

"Thanks a lot for staying, Nancy," Willis said. "I hope I haven't 
made you stand your boy friend up." 

"Oh no indeed," she said. "It's been a pleasure, Mr. Wayde." 

"I won't forget your kindness, Nancy," Willlis said, "and now 
before you go will you see if you can get me Mr. P. L. Nagel, please, 
in Chicago? And, Hank, will you come back with me to Mr. Bryson 
Harcourt's office for a moment?" 

Willis rested his hand affectionately on Hank's shoulder. There 
was nothing like loyalty, and when loyalty was obtained it should 
be nourished by appreciation. 

"I wouldn't have kept you around here, Hank," he said, "unless 
I had had something pretty big to say to you, and maybe if Elly 
wouldn't mind at this short notice, you might call her up and say 
I'd like you to dine with me at the Ritz. You see, very confidentially, 
Simcoe Rubber has made an offer to buy Associates, Hank, and if it 

J 78 Sincerely, Willis Wayde 

comes through I'll want you to be the head of the Harcourt Division 
— temporarily, at any rate, until we solve the problem of integration. 
Of course, operationwise the Harcourt Mill may be something of a 
headache in the future — not that I haven't got my fingers crossed in 
the hope that it won't. . . ." 

It would mean a lot to Hank Knowlton, but that was the way the 
world was. You either moved down or up. As soon as Willis had 
invited Hank to dinner he was a little sorry, because he was so tired 
that it would be hard to make a further effort. His words and gestures 
already seemed to be spoken from a distance. He was moving away 
from everything inevitably, as though a tide were moving him faster 
and faster, now that he had seen Bill and Bess. He wondered for a 
moment how this thought had come to him of moving faster and 
faster, and then he remembered that it must have stemmed from his 
mother's reading him Thiough the Looking Ghss — a book which had 
always made him uncomfortable and which he had asked Sylvia as a 
great favor not to read to their own children. He was like a passenger 
on the observation platform of an outgoing train that was gaining in 
acceleration as it left the station. He was moving away from his years 
of contriving as head of Harcourt Associates. Memories and figures 
were growing smaller, losing their validity. He was moving out of one 
square into a larger one, and he was moving faster and faster. 




My Country 'tis oi Status, SwcQt Land oi Conioimity! 

Is that true? Are we such status seekers that the car you 
diive, the church you attend, where you go to school, what 
words you use, the paintings on your wall, the political 
parties you favor, can all he tabulated, weighed, and assessed 
and your particular place on the status ladder evaluated? The 
rugged individualist among us will helieve there are just too 
many people standing on the same rung, and sooner or later 
the whole ladder will collapse. But fortunately, there is al- 
ways going to he some entrepreneur who will shinny up the 
drain pipe. 

The Wall Street Journal, long the voice oi management 
man and his work habits, was a pioneer observer in uncov- 
ering the status symbols rampant in American business. That 
pigskin tile Boor, discovered in its following report, was 
probably the last ten-yard gain of that particularly adolescent 

However, there were status symbols long before Daniel 
Boone's coon-skin cap, and, long before we have colonized 
the moon, someone will want a gold-plated rocket with split 
level H2O. 

* From: The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 1957. 


^'.. ;/:j.V 

Management Man: How He Works J 81 


very morning the president of a big Ohio paper prod- 
ucts corporation carefully pilots his auto into the least 
desirable and least convenient spot in his company's parking lot — a 
place reserved for him at his own request. 

At about the same hour the chairman of a giant Midwestern 
retailing company guides his conspicuously ancient Plymouth past 
the rows of gleaming new models owned by his subordinates to his 
regular space. 

These top executives are fighting a brave but losing battle. 
They're among the small minority of business leaders who are trying 
to downgrade that much maligned but omnipresent appurtenance 
of corporate power — the status symbol. 

Almost wherever one turns — and Wall Street Journal reporters 
turned to over fifty businessmen in twelve cities — the status symbol 
is on the rise. From the parking lot to the executive washroom, the 
special privileges denoting corporate rank are more prominent and 
more frankly acknowledged than ever before. 

At an increasing number of concerns, the corporate caste system 
is being formalized and rigidified. Most Detroit auto makers have 
adopted strict management classifications for the purpose of doling 
out such privileges as the use of company-owned cars for both business 
and personal purposes. At top levels, executives not only get more 
expensive models but also receive a second free car for the wife. 

Gulf Oil Corp. divides its management personnel into five levels 
for the purpose of distributing special privileges. When it comes to 
company cars, Class I (division managers and the like) can choose 
between Cadillacs and Imperials. In Class V (which includes sales 
representatives), the employee can choose only from among the 
Chevrolet 150, Ford Custom, and Plymouth Plaza. 

Crown Zellerbach Corp. has been seeking for more scientific 
stratification for three or four years. "Standardization will be in force 
when we move into a new twenty-story building,'' says H. W. Herzig, 
manager of the building and office services division. ''We'll be able to 
arrange walls so that the offices for executives of equal rank can all 
be built to within a square inch of one another in size." 

182 Status Symbols 

Status symbols are nothing new to the business world, of course. 
The early chief of one big Hollywood studio used to bring his two 
big boxer dogs to work with him every morning, housing them in a 
special kennel beside his ofEce. 

But not until more recent years have status symbols taken on 
such importance and formality at somewhat lower levels of the power 
pyramid. And this trend has presented companies with some severe 

''Status symbol problems are by far the most ticklish internal 
difficulties of our management/' confides the vice president of a large 
international construction company. 

The most common sources of interoffice rivalry over status sym- 
bols involve such obvious executive trappings as the size of the desk, 
the quality of drapes and carpets in private offices, the number of 
windows, and the over-all nature of office furnishings. 

Warfare recently broke out at the offices of a Boston-based utility 
company when an executive fell heir to a fine red leather couch. Says 
the executive: 'The vice president next door began coveting my 
couch, even claiming his doctor ordered him to take mid-day naps. I 
finally told my secretary, 'you decide.' She told me not to give it 

Collectors of status symbols vie for the little "extras" in office 
furnishings. Witness the Madison Avenue executive who had his 
office relaid in pigskin tile at company expense (at something like 
$5 per square foot). One former president of a Chicago food process- 
ing concern put his desk and chair on a raised platform so he could 
look down on employees who dropped by his office. 

For many years at Standard Oil Co. (Ohio) a brass spittoon 
symbolized authority. But more recently a water carafe and tray have 
replaced the spittoon in the offices of top brass. 

At Cummins Engine Co. in Columbus, Ind., another new symbol 
of executive caste has appeared. Top management personnel have 
been awarded aides — bright young assistants fresh out of Harvard 
Business School. 

Secretaries play a key role in the status symbol game: One East- 
ern manufacturing company calls the secretaries of department heads 
"executive assistants," while ladies performing identical chores for 
lesser personnel are merely "stenographers." At a major broadcasting 

Management Man; How He Works J 83 

company an executive's stratum is given away by a look at his secre- 
tary's typewriter: Only the offices of higher-level officials get electric 

To attain two secretaries is the goal of many a rising executive. 
But this achievement can bring problems. After a department man- 
ager for a western Pennsylvania oil company finally managed two 
secretaries he found they couldn't get along together. The possibly- 
temporary solution: He induced his company to construct a wall be- 
tween his warring secretaries. 

Some status symbols have been snatched — ^before being awarded 
— by ambitious young management climbers trying to better them- 
selves. In many companies, for instance, only members of top manage- 
ment are permitted to include their wives in their expense accounts 
on corporate junkets. This has led some men-on-the-make to bring 
along their wives at personal expense just for show. And the wide- 
spread practice of corporations footing the bill for country club mem- 
berships for key executives has led many newcomers to pay their own 
way into the clubs just to pal around with the brass. 

Such maneuvers can be dangerous for the practitioners, of course, 
if they stir their bosses' resentment. They also have contributed to a 
minor revolt against the more blatant aspects of the caste system. 

'Tou can spend lots of company money on status symbols — 
false rewards is what we consider them," observes an official of a Los 
Angeles electronics firm. ''But real rewards for a job well done, let's 
face it, should be largely financial — higher pay, bigger bonuses." 

''Status symbols only help to feed office jealousies," says the 
president of a West Coast communications equipment concern. 

Some companies have sought to cut down on some of the more 
obvious trappings of rank. At International Minerals & Chemical 
Corp.'s new Skokie, 111. headquarters the dimensions of offices will be 
standardized. And there will be less than usual rivalry over windows 
because, as Thomas M. Ware, administrative vice president, explains, 
"the walls are all window." There still will be competition for corner 
offices, of course. 

Similarly, DuPont is slowly but surely doing away with executive 
washrooms on the pretext that "there's a premium on space." 

Monsanto Chemical Co.'s new St. Louis Headquarters has 

184 Status Symbols 

eliminated competition over water coolers by installing only perma- 
nent drinking fountains in the hallways. 

One of the most sweeping status symbol upheavals took place 
when young Henry Ford II took over the reins of his company. As is 
widely known in Detroit, he lost little time in chopping away all the 
so-called ''fringe benefits" that had arisen during the Harry Bennett 
regime. In their place he introduced a highly formalized system of 
status symbolism which, among other things, drastically reduced the 
number of free autos given Ford officials. 

Under the current set-up at Ford, which the company refuses to 
discuss, status symbols are awarded in accordance with a set salary 
scale. Here's the way one former Ford man describes his trek up the 
ladder: As his position improved, his office grew larger, his furniture 
fancier, his name went on the door, he received a rug for the floor 
and a spot in the indoor garage. Then came keys to the executive 
washroom, country club membership at company expense, and finally 
the free car. 

These various rewards, he recalls, did more than merely bolster 
the ego. The executive washroom to which he gained admission of- 
fered showers and electric shavers as well as cologne. And the indoor 
garage proved particularly helpful during midwinter freezes. 

A number of personnel experts rationalize the entire matter of 
status symbols in terms of alleged ''practical" benefits: accruing to 
both company and individual executive. Nearby parking lots and 
washrooms, they argue, save time and energy for high-salaried officials 
and hence save money for companies. 

A Portland bank executive claims a certain amount of "window 
dressing" is needed to please customers. Bank officials need fancy 
titles and elaborate furnishings, he reasons, to make clients believe 
"They're talking to big wheels." 

In a similar vein, a former soap company president used to 
explain away the immense fireplace in his office by claiming it "put 
visitors at their ease." 

Some corporate leaders also defend status symbols as being im- 
portant to a company's discipline and operating efficiency. They serve 
to underscore the lines of authority, goes this argument, and remind 
employees where the power actually resides. Moreover, status privi- 

Management Man: How He Works J 85 

leges sometimes are used as ''fringe benefits" in lieu of pay boosts or 

Many skeptics, of course, take a dim view of all this. To them 
the status symbol is mainly a device for flaunting one's power, and 
any practical justification is largely accidental. 

The wives are as responsible as anyone, says a top official of a 
Western power company. 'The company wife can't brag that her 
husband makes so much money, but at least she can boast his new 
title or bright new office," he remarks. "Company wives need a way 
of displaying their husbands' importance." 

"If a young junior executive becomes preoccupied with symbols," 
says Dr. J. Elliott Janney, a Cleveland psychologist and management 
consultant, "you will find a pattern of other things that will show he's 
self-centered. Subordinates and superiors both will become distrustful 
of his motives and lose confidence in him." 

"But," Dr. Janney concludes, "status symbols to a large degree 
are just part of human nature." 

In Texas, "human nature" — like almost everything else — ex- 
presses itself in especially extravagant forms. One Dallas oil company 
has set up its three top men in lavish penthouse-like quarters. In- 
cluded in the layout is an ornate executive washroom replete with 
marble walls and gold faucets with handles carved in the shape of 
sea horses. 

The company also confers upon fifteen lesser wheels such bless- 
ings as membership in a private club, underground parking space, and 
the use of a new car complete with gas, oil, insurance, and repairs. 

"We can't pay salaries commensurate with the real worth of our 
top men," says the president of this oil concern. "So we try to give 
them added benefits to improve their spirit and morale." 

In most corporations, of course, it's the president who gets the 
biggest share of such "added benefits." In the railway business, the 
top prize is an expensively outfitted private car. A former railway 
executive calls these private cars the "most wasteful status symbol 
known to man. It would be cheaper to raise a man's salary $100,000 
a year than to give him a private car." 

A large aircraft manufacturing corporation in Los Angeles, whose 
headquarters is only two stories high, nevertheless provides an ele- 

J 86 Status Symhols 

vator for its chief executive. Only the president and his visitors may 
use the elevator — everyone else must use the stairs. 

The president of an airplane parts making company in Los 
Angeles has just remodeled his penthouse office to include a special 
sunroom. The room's ceiling contains a series of infrared lamps 
mounted in a big circle. Under the lamps is a plush, curved couch of 
red and gray on which the president can recline while absorbing the 
pseudo sunshine. And just so he won't forget the business world 
entirely, there's a fancy electric clock set into the ceiling in the 
middle of the circle of lamps. The office also contains a bar and a 
new ice cube machine. 

Some status symbols can be too elaborate even for the most 
acquisitive executive. Such is the case with an immense, three-story 
mansion perched atop a hill overlooking a small Pennsylvania mill 
town. The mansion was built to serve as the home of the mill boss, 
but it has stood bare and unoccupied for many years. The company 
still pays taxes and repairs on the mansion, but has not been able to 
talk anyone into living there. 

For lesser brass, railway cars, sun lamps, and hilltop mansions 
usually are out of the question. Lower-level executives must settle for 
smaller fringe benefits. The distinctions sometimes seem trifling. At 
a major Midwest oil company, vice presidents get private washrooms 
just like the boss, but theirs contain no toilets. At Campbell Soup 
Co.'s new headquarters at Camden, N.J., the president has a private 
washroom, while vice presidents must double up on their adjoining 
washrooms. Below the vice presidential level, executives are com- 
pletely barred from the bathroom aristocracy, and must walk to the 
regular facilities. 




"When Avery Bulhid dropped dead, he leit behind him 
an important piece oi unfinished business. As president and 
guiding genius of the Tredway Corporation, he had tailed to 
fill the vacancy in the office oi executive vice president. There 
was no heir-apparent ready to succeed him. What happened 
in the next twenty-six hours is the story Cameron Hawley 
tells in his engrossing novel, Executive Suite. 

''This is a novel about the top brass oi a great manufac- 
turing corporation and, as far as I Jcnow, it is unique in 
American Ection. There have been iew good novels about 
American businessmen and most oi these have been satirical, 
the work oi outsiders who look upon the most conspicuous 
faults oi businessmen with violent distaste and write oi them 
without really knowing much about what goes on in execu- 
tive oiRces or in executive heads. But Cameron Hawley is an 
insider, a successiul corporation executive himseli. He writes 
with authority. 

''Executive Suite . . . is an immensely interesting ex- 
ploration oi one oi the most representative aspects oi Ameri- 
can Jife, an aspect generally neglected in American Litera- 
ture. Its narrative pace is tremendous, its characterization 

* From: Executive Suite (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Company) 


The New Man in the Executive Suite 

bluntly eifectiVe. Its behind-the-scenes revelations oi rivalry, 
jealousy, maneuver, and compromise are fascinating. 

*'One of the useful things Mr. Hawley accompUshes in 
Executive Suite is to bring out the drama of big business 
without romanticizing it. ... I beUeve that many business 
men who do not ordinarily read current Ection will read 
Executive Suite with reh'sh and a delightful feeling of recog- 

We have quoted this review by Orville Prescott in such 
detail because it is unusual that the ideas of the book review 
column of The New York Times and the financial pages get 
together. Only in our day has big business discovered the 
*'big business of publishing,'' and the financial details of 
publishing itself have been of interest to readers more fre- 
quently engrossed by annual reports rather than best sellers. 
Mr. Hawley s novel created quite a stir when it was Erst 
published, and it occasioned an extraordinary amount of 
commentary re-evaluating the role of the American business- 
man in American literature. In the following exciting de- 
nouement of his novel, Mr. Hawley chose the successor to 
Avery BuJIard in a photo-Enish meeting of management 
minds that left his readers breathless. In this one short se- 
quence Mr. Hawley has summed up the many elements that 
make management still an adventure. A businessman him- 
self, Mr. Hawley was the top executive of a large manufac- 
turing corporation before he started to devote himself to 
writing. In Executive Suite he had a solid winner. 

Management Man; How He Works J 89 

JL ai 

he world was changing. The Bullards were defeated 
and the Shaws were inheriting the earth. The ac- 
countants and the calculators had risen to power. The slide rule had 
become the scepter. The world was being overrun with the ever- 
spawning swarm of figure- jugglers who were fly-specking the earth 
with their decimal points, proving over and over again that nothing 
mattered except what could be proved true by a clerk with a 

Julia Tredway Prince cleared her throat. ''Are you suggesting, 
Mr. Shaw, that there's no place any more for corporation presidents 
of Mr. Bullard's type?" 

It was the first mention of Avery Bullard's name and it came 
like an unexpected clap of thunder. Every eye in the room was on 
Loren Shaw. Even Don Walling, as Mary noticed gratefully, was 
watching him sharply. 

Shaw was balling his handkerchief in the palm of his right hand 
but his voice, when he spoke after a moment's hesitation, carried no 
trace of the nervous tension that his fingers betrayed. "I was speaking 
in general terms; of course — not specifically about the Tredway 

'Td still be interested in having your viewpoint/' Julia Tredway 
Prince said pleasantly. 'Tm sure the others would, too." 

The handkerchief was a hard ball, tight-clutched in Shaw's hand, 
but his voice was still carefully casual. ''No one can deny that men 
of Mr. Bullard's type played a great part in our industrial past. They 
belonged to an important phase of our commercial history. I would 
be the first to acknowledge the great debt that we owe Mr. Bullard 
for his leadership in the initial formation and early development of 
the Tredway Corporation." 

The way in which Shaw had relegated Avery Bullard to the 
distant past was so purposeful that Mary Walling was certain that 
Don couldn't have missed it. She glanced at him and caught the 
fading of an odd half-smile that seemed to recall some memory in 
her mind, yet despite the quick frantic racking of her brain she could 
not remember when she had seen it before, nor what special meaning 

J 90 The New Man in the Executive Suite 

it had in the lexicon of their intimacy. Then, suddenly, she forgot 
everything else in the realization that Don was about to speak, that 
he was going to fight back. Hopeless or not, he would make the try! 
She knew that the effort might make his defeat all the more bitter, 
but that realization could not dim the elation that made her heart 
pound wildly as she waited for his first words. 

''As I get your point, Loren," Don said, ''you're maintaining that 
Avery Bullard was the right man to build the company, but now that 
the company has been built we need a different type of management 
in order to make the company produce the maximum amount of profit 
for the stockholders." 

Mary Walling watched her husband intently, surprised at his 
composure. She had been expecting the flare of half-anger but his 
voice was cleanly dispassionate. 

Shaw, too, seemed surprised, his hesitance betraying his search 
for a hidden trap. "I don't know that Fd express it in exactly those 
terms — but, yes, that's substantially what I mean." 

An expectant hush had fallen over the room and George Caswell 
broke it by saying nervously, an undertone of near-embarrassment 
shading his voice. "I don't know that this is anything we have to 
thresh out here today — too soon for any of us to see the situation 
clearly. After all — " He had glanced at his wrist watch and suddenly 
stiffened, his eyes fixed and staring, and there was a long pause before 
he said in a low voice. "Coincidence, of course — happened to look 
at my watch — exactly two-thirty." 

Mary saw other blank looks that matched her own. 

"Just twenty-four hours," Caswell said in whispered explanation. 
"He died yesterday at two-thirty." 

Mary Walling's heart sank — afraid that Don had lost his chance, 
afraid that the cloud of grief that now shadowed the room could not 
be broken. Then she heard Julia Tredway Prince say, "Avery Bullard 
is dead. Nothing can change that, no matter how long we wait to talk 
about it." 

There was strength in her voice but when she turned Mary saw, 
in puzzling contrast, that there was a mist of tears in her eyes. She 
knew now what Julia had done — that she had purposefully saved the 
situation for Don — and she felt the warmth of a gratitude that was 
chilled only by the sensing of her own failure in not having been able 
to do for her husband what another woman had done. 

Management Man; How He Works J 91 

But one thing was now clear. Don had been right about Juha 
Tredway Prince's support. With her vote and Alderson's, he needed 
only one more. Where would it come from? Her eyes polled the 
faces of the three men who sat facing him . . . Shaw, Caswell, and 
Dudley . . . close-shouldered and resolute. What could Don possibly 
do to break through the barrier of their tight-woven opposition. 

Unexpectedly, it was D wight Prince who spoke. 'Tve often 
wondered about men like Mr. Bullard. He was a great deal like my 
father, you know — willing to give his whole life to a company — lay 
everything on the altar like a sacrifice to the god of business. Fve 
often asked myself what drives them to do it — whether they ever 
stop to ask themselves if what they get is worth the price. I don't 
suppose they do." 

''It's accomplishment that keeps a man going," Dudley said in 
his sales-meeting voice. 'That's what I always tell my boys — it isn't 
the money that counts, it's that old feeling of accomplishment." 

An enigmatic smile narrowed Don Walling's eyes as he looked 
intently at Loren Shaw. "Going back to this question of the kind of 
a management that you think the company ought to have from here 
on out, Loren — the kind of a management that measures its accom- 
plishment entirely in terms of return to the stockholders. We'd need 
a strong man to head up that kind of a management, wouldn't we?" 

A faint flush warmed Loren Shaw's neck. "Of course." 

"And it would be a big job, even for an able man? He'd have 
to throw himself into it — make a good many personal sacrifices in 
order to do a job?" 

Shaw hesitated, wary and unblinking. "If he were the right man 
there'd be no worry on that score." 

"What incentive would he have?" Don Walling demanded, and 
for the first time there was the sharp crackle of attack in his voice. 
"You will grant that there'd have to be an incentive?" 

Loren Shaw forced a cold smile. "I'd say that sixty thousand a 
year might be considered something of an incentive." 

"You would?" Don Walling's voice was whiplashed with aston- 
ishment. "Do you really think a man of that caliber would be willing 
to sell his life for money — for what would be left out of sixty thousand 
a year after tax?" 

Dwight Prince's tongue-in-cheek voice cut in unexpectedly. "You 
could always give him his own plane as a bonus." 

192 The New Man in the Executive Suite 

The flush on Shaw's neck spread hke a seeping stain. "Of course 
there's more than money involved." 

''What?" Don Walhng demanded. ''What Walt just called a 
sense of accomplishment? Would that satisfy you, Loren? Just sup- 
pose that you were the man — that you were the president of the 
Tredway Corporation." 

Mary Walling's heart stood still as her body stiffened to the 
shock-wave of what Don had said. She had not expected this . . . that 
it would be brought out in the open . . . and the taut silence made 
it plain that the others hadn't expected it either. 

Don Walling leaned forward. "Suppose that you were to spend 
the next twenty years — all the rest of your working life — in doing 
what you say needs to be done. Would you be satisfied to measure 
your life's work by how much you had raised the dividend? Would 
you regard your life as a success if you'd managed to get the dividend 
up to three dollars — or four — or five or six or seven? Is that what you 
want engraved on your tombstone when you die — the dividend record 
of the Tredway Corporation?" 

The blood-color had crept out over the mask of Shaw's face, but 
Mary Walling saw that it was not the flush of an embarrassment that 
acknowledged defeat, but the stain of an anger born out of des- 

Like a fighter at bay, Shaw tried to escape the attack with a 
diversion. "That's all very well, Mr. Walling — to take the high- 
minded attitude that money isn't important — but how far do you 
think you'd get next month if you offered the union negotiators a 
sense of accomplishment instead of the six cents an hour they're 

George Caswell grimaced, shifting uneasily in his chair. Mary 
Walling could sense his disappointment at Shaw's weak evasion of 
the issue. Had Don seen it, too? Did he realize that Caswell might 
be split away from Shaw — that Caswell might give him the one vote 
that was all he needed? 

Don Walling's eyes were still on Shaw. "What sense of ac- 
complishment would you offer them — the wonderful hope that if 
they passed up a raise and sweated their guts out to make that produc- 
tion line run a little faster, that we might be able to raise the dividend 
from two dollars to two dollars and ten cents?" 

There had been a smile in his voice, dulling the edge of his 

Management Man; How He Works J 93 

sarcasm, but now as his eyes left Shaw and fanned the whole room 
his words were soberly measured. ''I don't want to be facetious about 
this — it's too serious for that. Loren's right when he says that we 
have an obligation to our stockholders — but it's a bigger obligation 
than just paying dividends. We have to keep this company alive. 
That's the important thing — and a company is like a man. No man 
can work for money alone. It isn't enough. You starve his soul when 
you try it — and you can starve a company to death in the same way. 
Yes, I know — sometimes our men in the factories give us the impres- 
sion that all they want is another raise in wages — and then another 
and another and another. They make us think that getting more 
money is all that matters to them. But can we blame them for that? 
God knows, we've done our best to try to make them believe that 
money is the only measure of accomplishment that matters to us. 

''Look at what we did this last year with what we called a 'com- 
munications program.' We put out a movie that analyzed our financial 
report and had meetings in all the plants. The men weren't much 
interested in our financial report — we knew that to begin with, it was 
the premise we started from — so what did we do? We tried to force 
them into being interested. We disguised the dollars as cartoons — 
little cartoon dollars that jumped into workers' pocketbooks — other 
little cartoon dollars that dragged in piles of lumber and built factories 
— and a big fat dollar that took a trip to Washington and was gobbled 
up by Uncle Sam. Oh, it was all very clever — even won some kind 
of an award as an outstanding example of how to promote industrial 
understanding. Understanding? Do you know what it forced our men 
to understand? Only one thing — the terrible, soul-killing fact that 
dollars were all that mattered to the management of this company — 
dollars — dollars — and nothing else." 

"But that program was Mr. Bullard's own idea," Shaw cut in like 
a quick knife thrust. 

Mary Walling had been so completely swept along that her 
guard had dropped and Shaw's interruption came as a shocking 
surprise. Her eyes flashed to her husband. Had he been caught off 
guard, too? 

"No, I don't think we can call that Mr. Bullard's idea alone," 
Don Walling said. "It's something that's in the air today — the groping 
of a lot of men at the top of industry who know they've lost some- 
thing, but aren't quite sure what it is — nor exactly how they happened 

194 The New Man in the Executive Suite 

to lose it. Mr. Bullard was one of those men. He'd been so busy build- 
ing a great production machine that he'd lost sight of why he was 
building it — if he ever really knew. Perhaps he didn't." 

Julia Tredway Prince's voice, so close to Mary Walling's ears that 
even a whisper seemed like an explosion in the silence, asked, ''Do 
you know, Mr. Walling?" 

Mary Walling held her breath through the moment of silence. 
Could he answer that question? A smile flickered on his face . . . that 
same tantalizingly familiar smile that she hadn't been able to identify 
before. Now suddenly, she remembered when she had seen it before 
. . . that night when he had finally designed their house . . . when, 
after all of his groping and fumbling had frightened her almost to the 
point of losing faith in him, he had suddenly made everything come 
right and clear. 

'Tes, I think I do," he said. 'Tou see, to Mr. Bullard, business 
was a game — a very serious game, but still a game — the way war is a 
game to a soldier. He was never much concerned about money for its 
own sake. I remember his saying once that dollars were just a way 
of keeping score. I don't think he was too much concerned about 
personal power, either — just power for power's sake. I know that's the 
easy way to explain the drive that any great man has — the lust for 
power — but I don't think that was true of Avery Bullard. The thing 
that kept him going was his terrific pride in himself — the driving urge 
to do things that no other man on earth could do. He saved the 
company when everyone else had given up. He built a big corporation 
in an industry where everyone said that only small companies could 
succeed. He was only happy when he was doing the impossible — and 
he did that only to satisfy his own pride. He never asked for applause 
and appreciation — or even for understanding. He was a lonely man 
but I don't think his loneliness ever bothered him very much. He was 
the man at the top of the tower — figuratively as well as literally. That's 
what he wanted. That's what it took to satisfy his pride. That was his 
strength — but of course that was his weakness, too." 

Mary Walling listened in amazement. Where were those words 
coming from . . . those words that he could never have said before 
but were now falling so easily from his lips? Was that actually Don 
who was talking . . . the same man who had never been able to answer 
those dark-of-night questions before? 

She watched him as he rose from his chair and in the act of 

Management Man: How He Works J 95 

standing he seemed a giant breaking shackles that had held him to 
the earth . . . shaking loose the ties that had bound him to the blind 
worship of Avery Bullard. He stood alone now . . . free. 

'There was one thing that Avery Bullard never understood/' 
Don Walling went on. ''He never realized that other men had to be 
proud, too — that the force behind a great company had to be more 
than the pride of one man — that it had to be the pride of thousands 
of men. A company is like an army — it fights on its pride. You can't 
win wars with paychecks. In all the history of the world there's never 
been a great army of mercenaries. You can't pay a man enough to 
make him lay down his life. He wants more than money. Maybe 
Avery Bullard knew that once — maybe he'd just forgotten it — but 
that's where he made his mistake. He was a little lost these last few 
years. He'd won his fight to build a great company. The building was 
over — at least for the time being. There had to be something else to 
satisfy his pride — bigger sales — more profit — something. That's when 
we started doing things like making the sixteen-hundred series." 

He turned and confronted Dudley. "Are your boys proud when 
they sell the sixteen-hundred series — when they know that the finish 
is going to crack and the veneer split off and the legs come loose?" 

"But that's price merchandise/' Dudley said in fumbling defense. 
'There's a need for it. We're not cheating anyone. At that price the 
customers know that they can't get — " 

"How do you suppose the men in the factory feel when they 
make it?" Don Walling demanded. His eyes shifted from Dudley to 
Shaw. "What do you imagine they think of a management that's 
willing to stoop to selling that kind of junk in order to add a penny 
a year to the dividend? Do you know that there are men at Pike 
Street who have refused to work on the sixteen-hundred line — that 
there are men who have taken a cut of four cents an hour to get 
transferred to something else?" 

"No, I wasn't aware of that/' Shaw said — and the weakness of 
his voice signaled the first thin crack in his armor. "I don't suppose 
it would hurt too much if we dropped that line. After all, it's a small 
part of our business." 

A voice in Mary Walling's mind wanted to shout out at her 
husband, urging him to drive in for the kill that would clinch his 
victory. Couldn't he see that Shaw was defeated . . . that Caswell was 

196 The New Man in the Executive Suite 

nodding his approval . . . that Walt Dudley was waiting only to be 

But Don Walling turned, looking out of the window, and his 
voice seemed far away as if it were coming from the top of the distant 
white shaft of the Tredway Tower. 'Tes, we'll drop that line. We'll 
never again ask a man to do anything that will poison his pride in 
himself. We'll have a new line of low-priced furniture someday — a 
different kind of furniture — as different from anything we're making 
now as a modern automobile is different from an old Mills wagon. 
When we get it, then we'll really start to grow." 

His voice came back into the room. "We talk about Tredway 
being a big company now. It isn't. We're kidding ourselves. Yes, 
we're one of the biggest furniture manufacturers but what does it 
mean? Nothing! Furniture is close to a two-billion-dollar industry but 
it's all split up among thirty-six hundred manufacturers. We have 
about three per cent of the total — that's all, just three per cent. Look 
at other industries — the percentage that the top manufacturer has. 
What if General Motors had sat back and stopped growing when it 
had three per cent of the automobile industry? We haven't even 
started to grow! Suppose we get fifteen per cent of the total — and 
why not, it's been done in a dozen industries? Fifteen per cent and 
the Tredway Corporation will be five times as big as it is today. All 
right, I know it hasn't been done before in the furniture business, but 
does that mean we can't do it? No — because that's exactly what we 
are going to do!" 

His voice had built to a crescendo, to the moment that demanded 
the shout of an answering chorus — and then in the instant before 
the sound could have broken through the shock of silence, Mary 
Walling saw a tension-breaking smile on her husband's face. In the 
split second that it took her eyes to sweep the room, she saw that 
the smile was mirrored in all the faces that looked up at him . . . 
even in the face of Loren Shaw. 



How He Lives 




Half a decade ago the literary clitic^ Van Wyck BiookSy 
coined the expressions "highbrow" and "lowbrow." The 
phrases were so succinct that they were incorporated into 
the folklore oi American language. Several decades later 
Russell Lynes, writing at the time when ''middle manage- 
ment'' was pervasive^ brought us up to date with a delightful 
article entitled ''Highbrow^ Lowbrow, Middlebrow." 

Mr. Lynes has always been particularly interested in the 
members of society whom he calls ''the tastemakers." In the 
history of the United States he feels that taste has had very 
distinct periods. The first age he calls 'The Age of Public 
Taste" a phenomenon of the nineteenth century that was 
finally smothered by the age of private taste when the great 
elaborate homes of /. P. Morgan, for example, were asso- 
ciated with private wealth. The emerging businessman at 
that time, aspired to be an aristocrat in all senses of the word, 
and he squirrelled up treasures so that he might live in a 
private, crystal palace, in that instance the crystal being Tif- 
fany glass. 

Once again taste took a marked change. As Mr. Lynes puts 
it, "The Tastemakers took to working through mass com- 
munications media and vast corporations reached millions 
upon millions of people." Mr. Lynes calls our present age 

* From: The Tastemakers (New York: Harper & Brothers) 1949. 


200 Highhiow, LowhioWj Middkhiow 

*'The Age of Corporate Taste.'* It is in the everyday facets 
oi livingy however, that taste most inexplicably expresses 
itseli. As with all labels ^ highbrow, lowbrow, and middle- 
brow are more useful to the surveybrow than to the average 
man and woman. Mr, Lynes, however, makes no attempt to 
he a sociologist and anthropologist, a historian or an art 
critic — nonetheless his work has been used in all those Eelds. 
What he has is a very astute eye and a great gift for evaluat- 
ing what he sees and what he hears. Last but not least, he 
has a delightful sense of humor. In the following ''Highbrow, 
Lowbrow, Middlebrow'' that sense of humor can be relished 
in the best taste — and the picture it portrays of management 
life has the twist-of-lemon touch of fine writing. 

Management Man; How He Lives 201 

"It becomes increasingly difficult to tell who 
is serious and who is not." 


y wife's grandmother, the wife of a distinguished 
lawyer, once dechned to dine with the Cartiers of 
jeweky fame because they were, as she put it, ''in trade." Life for 
grandmother, who hved in a properly elegant but nondescript town 
house in New York, was relatively simple where social distinctions 
were concerned. While there are still a few people who think and 
act as she did, the passage of time has eliminated a great deal of that 
particular kind of snobbishness from American society. We are replac- 
ing it with another kind. The old structure of the upper class, the 
middle class, and the lower class is on the wane. It isn't wealth or 
family that makes prestige these days. It's taste and high thinking. 

Edith Wharton's theory that if the taste of the rich could be 
improved the general level of public taste would benefit has turned 
out to be a fallacy. The consumers and makers of taste, it appears, 
cannot be divided according to the conventional social strata. Good 
taste and bad taste, adventurous and timid taste, cannot be explained 
by wealth or education, by breeding or background. Each of these 
plays a part, but there is no longer such a thing as upper-class taste 
and lower-class taste as there was once supposed to be. In recent years 
a new social structure has emerged in which taste and intellectual 
pretension and accomplishment plays a major role. What we see 
growing around us is a sort of social stratification in which the high- 
brows are the elite, the middlebrows are the bourgeoisie, and the low- 
brows are hoi poUoi. 

For the time being this is perhaps largely an urban phenomenon, 
and the true middlebrow may readily be mistaken in the small com- 
munity for a genuine highbrow, but the pattern is emerging with 
increasing clarity, and the new distinctions do not seem to be based 
either on money or on breeding. Some lowbrows are as rich as Billy 
Rose, and as flamboyant, some as poor as Rosie O'Grady and as 

202 Highbrow, Lowbrow, Middlebrow 

modest. Some middlebrows run industries; some run the women's 
auxiliary of the Second Baptist Church. Some highbrows eat caviar 
with their Proust; some eat hamburger when they can afford it. It is 
true that most highbrows are in the ill-paid professions, notably the 
academic, and that most middlebrows are at least reasonably well off. 
Only the lowbrows can be found in about equal percentages at all 
financial levels. There may be a time, of course, when the highbrows 
will be paid in accordance with their own estimate of their worth, 
but that is not likely to happen in any form of society in which 
creature comforts are in greater demand than intellectual uplift. Like 
poets they will have to be content mostly with prestige. The middle- 
brows are influential today, but neither the highbrows nor the low- 
brows like them; and if we ever have intellectual totalitarianism, it 
may well be the lowbrows and the highbrows who will run things, 
and the middlebrows who will be exiled in boxcars to a collecting 
point probably in the vicinity of Independence, Missouri. 

While this social shift, which is also a shift in the weight that we 
give to taste, is still in its early stages, and the dividing lines are still 
indistinct and the species not yet (if ever) frozen, let us examine 
the principal categories, with their subdivisions and splinter groups, 
and see where we ourselves are likely to fetch up. 

The highbrows come first. Edgar Wallace, who was certainly not 
a highbrow himself, was asked by a newspaper reporter in Hollywood 
some years ago to define one. ''What is a highbrow?" he said. ''A 
highbrow is a man who has found something more interesting than 

Presumably at some time in every man's life there are things he 
finds more interesting than women; alcohol, for example, or the 
World Series. Mr. Wallace has only partially defined the highbrow. 
Brander Matthews came closer when he said that ''a highbrow is a 
person educated beyond his intelligence," and A. P. Herbert came 
closest of all when he wrote that ''a highbrow is the kind of person 
who looks at a sausage and thinks of Picasso." 

It is this association of culture with every aspect of daily life, 
from the design of his razor to the shape of the bottle that holds his 
sleeping pills, that distinguishes the highbrow from the middlebrow or 
the lowbrow. Spiritually and intellectually the highbrow inhabits a 

Management Man; How He Lives 203 

precinct well up the slopes of Parnassus, and his view of the cultural 
scene is from above. His vision pinpoints certain lakes and quarries 
upon which his special affections are concentrated — a perturbed lake 
called Rilke or a deserted quarry called Kierkegaard or a meadow of 
exotic flowers called Henry James — but he believes that he sees them, 
as he sees the functional design of his razor, always in relation to the 
broader cultural scene. There is a certain air of omniscience about the 
highbrow, though that air is in many cases the thin variety en- 
countered on the tops of high mountains from which the view is 
extensive but the details are lost. 

You cannot tell a man that he is a lowbrow any more than you 
can tell a woman that her clothes are in bad taste, but a highbrow 
does not mind being called a highbrow. He has worked hard, read 
widely, traveled far, and listened attentively in order to satisfy his 
curiosity and establish his squatters' rights in this little corner of 
intellectualism, and he does not care who knows it. And this is true 
of both kinds of highbrow — the militant, or crusader, type and the 
passive, or dilettante, type. These types in general live happily to- 
gether; the militant highbrow carries the torch of culture, the passive 
highbrow reads by its light. 

The carrier of the torch makes a profession of being a highbrow 
and lives by his calling. He is most frequently found in university and 
college towns, a member of the liberal-arts faculty, teaching languages 
(ancient or modern), the fine arts, or literature. His spare time is 
often devoted to editing a magazine which is read mainly by other 
highbrows, ambitious undergraduates, and the editors of middlebrow 
publications in search of talent. When he writes for the magazine 
himself (or for another 'little" magazine) it is usually criticism or 
criticism oi criticism. He leaves the writing of fiction and poetry to 
others more bent on creation than on what has been created, for the 
highbrow is primarily a critic and not an artist — a taster, not a cook. 
He is often more interested in where the arts have been, and where 
they are going, than in the objects themselves. He is devoted to the 
proposition that the arts must be pigeonholed, and that their trends 
should be plotted, or as W. H. Auden puts it — 

Our intellectual marines. 
Landing in Little Magazines, 
Capture a trend. 

204 Highhiow, LowhioWy Middlehiow 

This gravitation of the highbrows to the universities is fairly 
recent. In the twenties, when the httle magazines were devoted to 
publishing experimental writing rather than criticism of exhumed 
experimental writing, the highbrows flocked to Paris, New York, and 
Chicago. The transatlantic review, transition, and the Little Review, 
of the lower-case era of literature, were all published in Paris; BROOM 
was published in New York; Poetry was (and still is) published in 
Chicago. The principal little magazines now, with the exception of 
Partisan Review, a New York product but written mostly by aca- 
demics, are published in the colleges — the Kenyon Review, the 
Sewanee Review, the Virginia Quarterly, and so on — and their flavor 
reflects this. But this does not mean that highbrows do not prefer 
the centers in which cultural activities are the most varied and active, 
and these are still London, Paris, New York, and more recently Rome. 
Especially in the fine arts, the highbrow has a chance to make a 
living in the metropolis where museums are centered and where art 
is bought and sold as well as created. This is also true of commercial 
publishing, in which many highbrows find suitable, if not entirely 
congenial, refuge. 

But no matter where they may make their homes, all highbrows 
live in a world which they believe is inhabited almost entirely by 
Philistines — those who through viciousness or smugness or the wor- 
ship of materialism gnaw away at the foundations of culture. And 
the highbrow sees as his real enemy the middlebrow, whom he regards 
as a pretentious and frivolous man or woman who uses culture to 
satisfy social or business ambitions; who, to quote Clement Greenberg 
in Partisan Review, is busy ''devaluating the precious, infecting the 
healthy, corrupting the honest, and stultifying the wise.'' 

It takes a man who feels strongly to use such harsh words, but the 
militant highbrow has no patience with his enemies. He is a serious 
man who will not tolerate frivolity where the arts are concerned. It is 
part of his function as a highbrow to protect the arts from the culture 
mongers, and he spits venom at those he suspects of selling the 
Muses short. 

The fact that nowadays everyone has access to culture through 
schools and colleges, through the press, radio, and museums, disturbs 
him deeply; for it tends to blur the distinctions between those who 
are serious and those who are frivolous. ''Culturally what we have,'' 
wrote William Phillips in Hoiizon several years ago, "is a democratic 

Management Man: How He Lives 20S 

free-for-all in which every individual, being as good as every other 
one, has the right to question any form of intellectual authority/' To 
this Mr. Greenberg adds, ''It becomes increasingly difficult to tell 
who is serious and who not." 

The highbrow does not like to be confused, nor does he like to 
have his authority questioned, except by other highbrows of whose 
seriousness he is certain. The result is precisely what you would ex- 
pect: the highbrows believe in, and would establish, an intellectual 
elite, '*a fluid body of intellectuals . . . whose accepted role in society 
is to perpetuate traditional ideas and values and to create new ones.'' 
Such an elite would like to see the middlebrow eliminated, for it 
regards him as the undesirable element in our, and anybody else's, 

''It must be obvious to anyone that the volume and social weight 
of middlebrow culture," Mr. Greenberg writes, ''borne along as it has 
been by the great recent increase in the American middle class, have 
multiplied at least tenfold in the past three decades. This culture 
presents a more serious threat to the genuine article than the old-time 
pulp dime novel. Tin Pan Alley, Schund variety ever has or will. Un- 
like the latter, which has its social limits clearly marked out for it, 
middlebrow culture attacks distinctions as such and insinuates itself 
everywhere. . . . Insidiousness is of its essence, and in recent years its 
avenues of penetration have become infinitely more difficult to detect 
and block." 

By no means all highbrows take such a strong position as this or 
are so concerned with the tastes of others. Many of them, the passive 
ones, are merely consumers totally indifferent to the middlebrows or 
supercilious about them. Some without a great deal of hope but in 
ardent good faith expend themselves in endeavor to widen the circle 
of those who can enjoy the arts in their purest forms. Many museums, 
colleges, and publishing houses are at least partly staffed by highbrows 
who exert a more than half-hearted effort to make the arts exciting 
and important to the public. But they are aware that most of their 
labors are wasted. In his heart of hearts nearly every highbrow believes 
with Ortega y Gasset that "the average citizen [is] a creature incapable 
of receiving the sacrament of art, blind and deaf to pure beauty." 
When, for example, the Metropolitan Museum planned to expand its 
facilities a few years ago, an art dealer who can clearly be classified 
as a highbrow remarked: "All this means is less art for more people." 

206 Highhiow, Lowhiow, Middlebrow 

There are also many highbrows who are not concerned in the 
least with the arts or with literature, and who do not fret themselves 
about the upstart state of middlebrow culture. These are the spe- 
cialized highbrows who toil in the remote corners of science and 
history, of philology and mathematics. They are concerned with their 
investigations of fruit flies or Elizabethan taxation or whatever it may 
be, and they do not talk about them, as the dilettante always talks 
of the arts, to the first person they can latch onto at a cocktail party. 
When not in their laboratories or the library, they are often as not 
thoroughly middlebrow in their attitudes and tastes. 

The real highbrow's way of life is as intellectualized as his way 
of thinking, and as carefully plotted. He is likely to be either extremely 
self-conscious about his physical surroundings and creature comforts 
or else sublimely, and rather ostentatiously, indifferent to them. If he 
affects the former attitude, he will within the limits of his income 
surround himself with works of art. If he cannot afford paintings he 
buys drawings. Color reproductions, except as casual reminders tucked 
in the frame of a mirror or thrown down on a table, are beneath him. 
The facsimile is no substitute in his mind for the genuine, and he 
would rather have a slight sketch by a master, Braque or Picasso or 
even Jackson Pollock, than a fully-realized canvas by an artist he 
considers not quite first-rate. Drawings by his friends he hangs in the 
bathroom. His furniture, if it is modern, consists of identifiable pieces 
by Aalto, or Breuer, or Mies van der Rohe, or Eames; it does not 
come from department stores. If he finds modern unsympathetic, he 
will tend to use Biedermeier or the more ''entertaining" varieties of 
Victorian, which he collects piece by piece with an eye to the slightly 
eccentric. If he has antiques, you may be sure they are not maple; the 
cult of Early American is offensive to him. 

The food that he serves will be planned with the greatest care, 
either very simple (a perfect French omelette made with sweet but- 
ter) or elaborate recipes from Wine and Food magazine published in 
London and edited by Andre Simon. If he cannot afford a pound of 
butter with every guinea fowl, he will in all probability resort to the 
casserole, and peasant cookery with the sparer parts of animals and 
birds seasoned meticulously with herbs that he gets from a little 
importer in the wholesale district. His wine is more likely to be a 
''perfectly adequate little red wine" for eighty-nine cents a half gallon 
than an imported French vintage. (Anybody with good advice can 

Management Man; How He Lives 207 

buy French wines, but the discovery of a good domestic bottle shows 
perception and educated taste.) He wouldn't dream of washing his 
salad bowl. His collection of phonograph records is likely to bulk large 
at the ends and sag in the middle — a predominance of Bach-and- 
before at one end and Stravinsky, Schonberg, Bartok, and New 
Orleans jazz at the other. The nineteenth century is represented, 
perhaps, by Beethoven quartets and late sonatas, and some French 
''art songs'' recorded by Maggie Teyte. His radio, if he has one, is 
turned on rarely; he wouldn't have a television set in the house. 

The highbrow who disregards his creature comforts does it with 
a will. He lives with whatever furniture happens to come his way in 
a disorganized conglomeration of Victorian, department store, and 
Mexican bits and pieces. He takes care of his books in that he knows 
where each one is no matter in what disorder they may appear. Every 
other detail of domestic life he leaves to his wife, of whose taste he is 
largely unaware, and he eats what she gives him without comment. If 
he is a bachelor, he eats in a cafeteria or drugstore or diner and 
sometimes spills soup on the open pages of his book. He is oblivious 
of the man who sits down opposite him, and if Edgar Wallace is right, 
to the woman who shares his table. He is not a man without passions, 
but they have their place. Dress is a matter of indifference to him. 

The highbrows about whom I have been writing are mainly con- 
sumers and not creators — editors, critics, and dilettantes. The creative 
artists who are generally considered highbrows — such men as T. S. 
Eliot, E. M. Forster, Picasso, and Stravinsky — seem to me to fall in 
another category, that of the professional man who, while he may be 
concerned with communicating with a limited (and perhaps largely 
highbrow) audience, is primarily a doer and not a done-by. When 
Eliot or Forster or Picasso or Stravinsky sits down at his work table, I 
do not know whether he says to himself, '1 am going to create Art," 
but I very much doubt if that is what is in his mind. He is concerned 
rather with the communication of ideas within the frame of a poem, 
a novel, a painting, or a ballet suite, and if it turns out to be art 
(which many think it frequently does) that is to him a by-product 
of creation, an extra dividend of craftsmanship, intelligence, and 
sensibility. But when this happens he is taken up by the highbrow 
consumer and made much of. In fact he may become, whether he 
likes it or not, a vested interest, and his reputation will be every bit 
as carefully guarded by the highbrows as a hundred shares of Standard 

208 Highhiow, LowhioWy Middkhiow 

Oil of New Jersey by the middlebrows. He will be sold — at a par 
decided upon by the highbrows — to the middlebrows, who are natural 
gamblers in the commodities of culture. 

In a sense it is this determination of par that is the particular 
contribution of the highbrow. Others may quarrel with his evaluations, 
but the fact remains that unless there were a relatively small group 
of self-appointed intellectuals who took it upon themselves to ransack 
the studios of artists, devour the manuscripts of promising writers, 
and listen at the keyholes of young composers, many talented men and 
women might pass unnoticed and our culture be the poorer. Their 
noncommercial attitude toward discovery of talent is useful, though 
they have an obsession with the evils of the monetary temptations 
with which America strews the artist's path. They stand as a wavering 
bulwark against the enticements of Hollywood and the advertising 
agencies, and they are saddened by the writers and painters who have 
set out to be serious men, as Hemingway did, and then become popu- 
lar by being taken up by the middlebrows. They even go so far as to 
say that a story published in Partisan Review is a better story than if 
it were published in The New Yorker or Harper's Bazaar, for the rea- 
son that 'what we have is at once a general raising and lowering of 
the level, for which the blurring of distinctions new writing tends 
to become more and more serious and intellectual and less and less 
bold and extreme. . . ." 

This attitude, which is the attitude of the purist, is valuable. It 
is the sort of statement that James Jackson Jarves might have made a 
century before, or James Fenimore Cooper even earlier. They were 
dismayed at the way every man pretended to be a connoisseur — 
''knowledge or no knowledge; brains or no brains; taste or no taste." 
The ground in which the arts grow stays fertile only when it is fought 
over by both artists and consumers, and the phalanx of highbrows in 
the field, a somewhat impenetrable square of warriors, can be counted 
on to keep the fray alive. ' > 

The highbrow's friend is the lowbrow. The highbrow enjoys and 
respects the lowbrow's art — jazz for instance — which he is likely to call 
a spontaneous expression of folk culture. The lowbrow is not inter- 
ested, as the middlebrow is, in pre-empting any of the highbrow's 
function or in any way threatening to blur the lines between the 
serious and the frivolous. In fact he is almost completely oblivious of 

Management Man: How He Lives 209 

the highbrow unless he happens to be taken up by him — as many 
jazz musicians, primitive painters, and ballad writers have been — and 
then he is likely to be flattered, a little suspicious, and somewhat 
amused. A creative lowbrow like the jazz musician is a prominent 
citizen in his own world, and the fact that he is taken up by the 
highbrows has very little effect on his social standing therein. He is 
tolerant of the highbrow, whom he regards as somewhat odd and 
out-of-place in a world in which people do things and enjoy them 
without analyzing why or worrying about their cultural implications. 

The lowbrow doesn't give a hang about art qua art. He knows 
what he likes, and he doesn't care why he likes it — which implies that 
all children are lowbrows. The word ''beautiful," which has long since 
ceased to mean anything to the highbrow, is a perfectly good word 
to the lowbrow. Beautiful blues, beautiful sunsets, beautiful women, 
all things that do something to a man inside without passing through 
the mind, associations without allusions, illusions without implica- 
tions. The arts created by the lowbrow are made in the expression of 
immediate pleasure or grief, like most forms of jazz; or of usefulness, 
like the manufacturing of a tool or a piece of machinery or even 
a bridge across the Hudson. The form, to use a highbrow phrase, fol- 
lows the function. When the lowbrow arts follow this formula (which 
they don't always do), then the highbrow finds much in them to 
admire, and he calls it the vernacular. When, however, the lowbrow 
arts get mixed up with middlebrow ideas of culture, then the highbrow 
turns away in disgust. Look, for example, at what happened to the 
circus, a traditional form of lowbrow art. They got in Norman Bel 
Geddes to fancy it up, and now its special flavor of authenticity is 
gone — all wrapped up in pink middlebrow sequins. This is not to 
say that the lowbrow doesn't like it just as much as he ever did. It is 
the highbrow who is pained. 

Part of the highbrow's admiration for the lowbrow stems from 
the lowbrow's indifference to art. This makes it possible for the high- 
brow to blame whatever he doesn't like about lowbrow taste on the 
middlebrow. If the lowbrow reads the comics, the highbrow under- 
stands; he is frequently a connoisseur of the comics himself. But if he 
likes grade-B double features, the highbrow blames that on the 
corrupting influence of the middlebrow moneybags of Hollywood. If 
he participates in give-away quiz programs, it is because the radio 
pollsters have decided that the average mental age of the listening 

210 Highbiow, Lowhiow, Middlehiow 

audience is thirteen, and that radio and television are venal for taking 
ad\'antage of the adolescent. 

The lowbrow consumer, whether he is an engineer of bridges or 
a bus driver, wants to be comfortable and to enjoy himself without 
ha\'ing to worr}' about whether he has good taste or not. It doesn't 
make any difference to him that a chair is a bad Grand Rapids copy 
of an eighteenth-centurv fauteuil as long as he's happy when he sits 
down in it. He doesn't care whether the movies are art, or the tele- 
vision impro^•ing, so long as he has fun while he is giving them his 
attention and getting a fair return of pleasure from his investment. 
It wouldn't occur to him to tell a novelist what kind of book he should 
write, or a movie director what kind of a movie to make. If he doesn't 
like a book he ignores it; if he doesn't like a movie he says so, whether 
it is a Martin and Lewis show or Heni}^ V. If he likes jive or square 
dancing, he doesn't worr}' about whether they are fashionable or not. 
If other people like the ballet, that's all right with him, so long as he 
doesn't have to go himself. In general the lowbrow attitude toward the 
arts is live and let live. Lowbrows are not Philistines. One has to 
know enough about the arts to argue about them with highbrows to 
be a Philistine. 

The popular press, and also much of the unpopular press, is run 
by the middlebrows, and it is against them that the highbrow^ inveighs. 

"The true battle," wTote Virginia Woolf in an essav called 
"Middlebrow" (she was the first, I believe, to define the species) 
". . . lies not between the highbrows and the lowbrows joined together 
in blood brotherhood but against the bloodless and pernicious pest 
who comes between. . . . Highbrows and lowbrows must band together 
to exterminate a pest which is the bane of all thinking and living." 

Pushing Mrs. Woolf's definition a step further, the pests divide 
themselves into two groups: the upper middlebrows and the lower 
middlebrows. It is the upper middlebrows who are the principal 
pur\^eyors of highbrow ideas and the low^er middlebrows who are the 
principal consumers of what the upper middlebrows pass along to 

Many publishers, for example, are upper middlebrows — as are 
most educators, museum directors, movie producers, art dealers, lec- 
turers, and the editors of most magazines which combine national 
circulation with an adult vocabulary. These are the men and women 

Management Man; How He Lives 211 

who devote themselves professionally to the dissemination of ideas and 
cultural artifacts and, not in the least incidentally, make a living 
along the v^ay. They are the cultural do-gooders, and they see their 
mission clearly and pursue it with determination. Some of them are 
disappointed highbrows; some of them try to work both sides of the 
street; nearly all of them straddle the fence between highbrow and 
middlebrow and enjoy their equivocal position. 

The conscientious publisher, for instance, believes in the impor- 
tance of literature and the dignity of publishing as a profession. He 
spends a large part of his time on books that will not yield him a 
decent return on his investment. He searches out writers of promise; 
he pores over the 'little" magazines (or pays other people to); he 
leafs through hundreds and hundreds of pages of manuscript. He 
advises writers, encourages them, coaxes them to do their best work; 
he even advances them money. But he is not able to be a publisher at 
all (unless he is willing to put his personal fortune at the disposal of 
financially naive muses) if he does not publish to make money. In 
order to publish slender volumes of poetry he must also publish fat 
volumes of historical romance, and in order to encourage the first 
novel of a promising young writer he must sell tens of thousands of 
copies of a book by an old hand who grinds out one best seller a 
year. He must take the measure of popular taste and cater to it at 
the same time that he tries to create a taste for new talent. If he 
is a successful publisher he makes money, lives comfortably, patronizes 
the other arts, serves on museum boards and committees for the 
Prevention of This and the Preservation of That, contributes to the 
symphony, and occasionally buys pictures by contemporary painters. 

The highbrow suspects that the publisher does not pace his book- 
lined office contriving ways to serve the muses and that these same 
muses have to wait their turn in line until the balance sheet has 
been served. He believes that the publisher is really happy only when 
he can sell a couple of hundred thousand copies of a novel about a 
hussy with a horsewhip or a book on how to look forty when forty-five. 
To the highbrow he is a tool to be cultivated and used, but not to be 

The museum director, as we have already seen, is in much the 
same position, caught between the muses and the masses. If he 
doesn't make a constant effort to swell the door count, his middlebrow 
trustees want to know why he isn't serving the community; if he does, 

212 Highhiow, LowhioWy Middlehiow 

the highbrows want to know why he is pandering to popular taste and 
not minding his main business — the service of scholarship and the 
support of artists currently certified to be ''serious." Educators are in 
the same position, bound to be concerned with mass education often 
at the expense of the potential scholar, and editors of all magazines 
except those supported by private angels or cultural institutions know 
that they must not only enlighten but entertain if they are to have 
enough readers to pay the bills. To the highbrow this can lead to 
nothing but compromise and mediocrity. 

The upper-middlebrow consumer takes his culture seriously, as 
seriously as his job allows, for he is gainfully employed. In his leisure 
hours he reads Toynbee or Osbert Sitwcll's serialized memoirs. He 
goes to museum openings and to the theater and he keeps up on the 
foreign films. He buys pictures, sometimes old masters if he can aiford 
them, sometimes contemporary works. He has a few etchings and 
lithographs, and he is not above an occasional color reproduction of 
a Cezanne or a Lautrec. Writers and painters are his friends and dine 
at his house; if, however, his own son were to express an interest in 
being an artist, he would be dismayed (''so few artists ever really 
pull it off'') — though he would keep a stiff upper lip and hope the boy 
would learn better before it was too late. His house is tastefully 
decorated, sometimes in the very latest mode, a model of the modern 
architect's dream of functionalism, in which case he can discourse on 
the theory of the open plan and the derivations of the International 
Style with the zest and uncertain vocabulary of a convert. If his 
house is "traditional" in character, he will not put up with Grand 
Rapids copies of old pieces; he will have authentic ones, and will 
settle for Victorian if he cannot afford Empire. He, or his wife, will 
ransack second-hand shops for entertaining bibelots and lamps or a 
piece of Brussels carpet from Andrew Jackson Downing's day for the 
bedroom. He never refers to curtains as "drapes." He talks about 
television as potentially a new art form, and he watches the Ford 
Foundation's TV program Omnihus. His library contains a few of 
the more respectable current best sellers which he reads out of 
"curiosity" rather than interest. There are a few shelves of first edi- 
tions, some of them autographed by friends who have dined at his 
house, some of them things (like a presentation copy of Jurgen) that 
he "just happened to pick up" and a sampling of American and British 
poets. There is also a shelf of paper-bound French novels — most of 

Management Man: How He Lives 213 

them by nineteenth-century writers. The magazines on his table span 
the areas from Time and The New Yorker to Harper's and the 
Atlantic, with an occasional copy of the Yale and Partisan Reviews, 
and the Art News. 

From this it can be seen that he supports the highbrows — buys 
some of the books they recommend and an occasional picture they 
have looked upon with favor — and contributes to organized efforts 
to promote the arts both by serving on boards and shelling out money. 
In general he is modest about expressing his opinion on cultural 
matters in the presence of highbrows but takes a slightly lordly tone 
when he is talking to other middlebrows. If he discovers a 'little" 
painter or poet, the chances are excellent that the man has already 
been discovered and promoted by a highbrow or by an upper-middle- 
brow entrepreneur (art dealer or publisher). Once in a while he will 
take a flyer on an unknown artist, and hang his picture inconspicu- 
ously in the bedroom. He takes his function as a patron of the arts 
seriously, but he does it for the pleasure it gives him to be part of 
the cultural scene. If he does it for ''money, fame, power, or pres- 
tige," as Virginia Woolf says he does, these motives are so obscured 
by a general sense of well-being and well-meaning that he would be 
shocked and surprised to be accused of venality. 

If the upper middlebrow is unsure of his own tastes, but firm in 
his belief that taste is extremely important, the lower middlebrow is 
his counterpart. The lower middlebrow ardently believes that he 
knows what he likes, and yet his taste is constantly susceptible to the 
pressures that put him in knickerbockers one year and rust-colored 
slacks the next. Actually he is unsure about almost everything, 
especially about what he likes. This may explain his pronouncements 
on taste, which he considers an effete and questionable virtue, and his 
resentment of the arts; but it may also explain his strength. 

When America and Americans are characterized by foreigners 
and highbrows, the middlebrows are likely to emerge as the dominant 
group in our society — a dreadful mass of insensible back-slappers, 
given to sentimentality as a prime virtue, the willing victims of slogans 
and the whims of the bosses, both political and economic. The picture 
painted by middlebrow exploiters of the middlebrow, such as the ad- 
vertisers of nationally advertised brands, is strikingly similar to that 
painted by the highbrow; their attitudes and motives are quite differ- 

214 Highhiow, Lowhiow, Middkhiow 

ent (the highbrow paints with a snarl, the advertiser with a gleam), 
but they both make the middlebrow out to be much the same kind of 
creature. The villain of the highbrow and the hero of the advertisers 
is envisaged as ''the typical American family" — happy little women, 
happy little children, all spotless or sticky in the jam pot, framed 
against dimity curtains in the windows or decalcomania flowers on 
the cupboard doors. Lower-middlebrowism is a world pictured with- 
out tragedy, a world of new two-door sedans, and Bendix washers, and 
reproductions of hunting prints over the living-room mantel. It is a 
world in which the ingenuity and patience of the housewife are 
equaled only by the fidelity of her husband and his love of home, 
pipe, and television. It is a world that smells of soap. But it is a world 
of ambition as well, the constant striving for a better way of life — 
better furniture, bigger refrigerators, more books in the bookcase, more 
evenings at the movies. To the advertisers this is Americanism; to 
the highbrows this is the dead weight around the neck of progress, the 
gag in the mouth of art. 

The lower middlebrows are not like this, of course, and unlike 
the highbrows and the upper middlebrows, whose numbers are tiny 
by comparison, they are hard to pin down. They live everywhere, 
rubbing elbows with lowbrows in apartment houses like vast beehives, 
in row houses all alike from the outside except for the planting, in 
large houses at the ends of gravel driveways, in big cities, in medium 
cities and suburbs, and in small towns, from Boston to San Francisco, 
from Seattle to Jacksonville. They are the members of the book clubs 
who read difficult books along with racy and innocuous ones that 
are sent along by Messrs. Fadiman, Canby, Beecroft et al. They are 
the course takers who swell the enrollments of adult education classes 
in everything from 'The Technique of the Short Story'' to "Child 
Care." They are the people who go to hear the lecturers that swarm 
out from New York lecture bureaus with tales of travel on the Dark 
Continent and panaceas for saving the world from a fate worse than 
capitalism. They eat in tea shoppes and hold barbecues in their 
back yards. They are hell-bent on improving their minds as well as 
their fortunes. They decorate their homes under the careful guidance 
of Good Housekeeping and the Ladies' Home Journal or, if they are 
well off, of House and Garden^ and are subject to fads in furniture so 
long as these don't depart too radically from the traditional and the 
safe, from the copy of Colonial and the reproduction of Sheraton. In 

Management Man: How He Lives 215 

matters of taste, the lower-middlebrow world is largely dominated 
by women. They select the furniture, buy the fabrics, pick out the 
wallpapers, the pictures, the books, the china. Except in the selection 
of his personal apparel and the car, it is almost infra dig for a man to 
have taste; it is not considered quite manly for the male to express 
opinions about things which come under the category of ''artistic." 

Nonetheless, as a member of the school board or the hospital 
board he decides which design shall be accepted when a new building 
goes up. The lower middlebrows are the organizers of the community 
fund, the members of the legislature, the park commissioners. They 
pay their taxes and they demand services in return. There are millions 
of them, concientious stabilizers of society, slow to change, slow to 
panic. But they are not as predictable as either the highbrows or the 
bosses, political or economic, think they are. They can be led, they 
can be seduced, but they cannot be pushed around. 

Highbrow, lowbrow, upper middlebrow, and lower middlebrow — 
the lines between them are sometimes indistinct, as the lines between 
upper class, lower class, and middle class have always been in our 
traditionally fluid society. But gradually they are finding their own 
levels and confining themselves more and more to the company of 
their own kind. 

The highbrows would apparently like to eliminate the middle- 
brows and devise a society that would approximate an intellectual 
feudal system in which the lowbrows do the work and create folk 
arts, and the highbrows do the thinking and create fine arts. All 
middlebrows, presumably, would have their televisions taken away, be 
suspended from society until they had agreed to give up their sub- 
scriptions to the Book-of-the-Month, turned their color reproductions 
over to a Commission for the Dissolution of Middlebrow Taste, and 
renounced their affiliation with all educational and other cultural insti- 
tutions whatsoever. They would be taxed for the support of all writers, 
artists, musicians, critics, and critics-of-criticism whose production 
could be certified ''serious" — said writers, artists, musicians, and critics 
to be selected by representatives of qualified magazines with circula- 
tions of not more than five thousand copies. Middlebrows, both 
upper and lower, who persisted in "devaluating the precious, infecting 
the healthy, corrupting the honest, and stultifying the wise" would be 
disposed of forthwith. 

216 Highhiow, LowhioWy Middlebrow 

If life for grandmother, who wouldn't dine with the Cartiers, was 
simple in its social distinctions, life is becoming equally simple for 
us. The rungs of the ladder may be different, it may even be a differ- 
ent ladder, but it's onward and upward just the same. You may 
not be known by which fork you use for the fish these days, but you 
will be known by which key you use for your Fiiinegan's Wake. 




W. Lloyd Warner and James AbeggJen in theii hook en- 
titled Big Business Leaders In America have painted an ah- 
soihing group portrait of America's top executives and the 
iorces that made them leaders. Warner and AbeggJen have 
explored in great detail the careers of over eight thousand 
leaders. The facts and fancies of management life, from 
birth to marrying the boss's daughter, are either conErmed or 

Whether or not it is the boss's daughter that the man 
marries (a fallacy j say the authors; it takes longer for the 
mobile man to reach the top if he marries the boss's daughter 
than if he marries at his own level), the woman he marries is 
deEnitely a contributing factor to his success. Not so much 
as perhaps every woman would like to think, because the 
mother who made that man was in all likelihood a greater 
guide to his success than either Mr. Warner or Mr. Abeg- 
gJen have pointed out. The hand that rocks the cradle — or 
did not — has done a great deal in either keeping steady or 
rocking the boat in every man's career worJd. His father, of 
course, can even wreck the boat. 

* From: Big Business Leaders in America (New York: Harper & 
Brothers) 1955. 


218 Management Wives: The Kind oi Women Who Make Successiul Wives 

There is no douht^ however, that a man's wife is important. 
Sometimes she has an exaggerated sense oi her own impor- 
tance; sometimes she feels deieated by the very concept oi 
"business/' which is after all the greatest rival she will ever 
have in her hie. Most women, at least women whose hus- 
bands satisiy so many drives in business Hie, ieel secure that 
they can hold their man against any onslaught oi ieminine 
competition. Not so the organization. Some part oi her must 
be always willing to adapt her to all circumstances; all parts 
oi her, although the authors do not say so, must take grati- 
fication in the fact oi being a happy wiie. This is quite dif- 
ferent from a wiie who is simply anxious to make her hus- 
band happy. That particular form oi masochism will not 
stand up to the particular emotional exhaustion that is ram- 
pant in management Hie. 

In the ioUowing selection, ''The Kinds oi Women Who 
Make Successiul Wives/' the reader can discover some inter- 
esting insights. You may not recognize your wiie here, and 
your wiie, in turn, may not recognize herself here, but we 
maintain that any marriage that stands up to the anxieties, 
disappointments, and, yes, sudden success, that is business 
achievement; a marriage that incorporates mortgages, chil- 
dren awakening in the middle oi the night, fatigue, pressure, 
and the terrible impress oi our chaotic modern world, with- 
out breaking is successful. li you are still smiling at each 
other successfully, you're both a success, so chalk up one for 
the management Hie together. Marriage is where the "to- 
getherness'' oi management liie offers dividends. 

Management Man: How He Lives 219 


successful wife may play four major roles, defined in 
terms of her activities, her interests, and her signifi- 
cance to her husband's career. In one, she limits her interests and 
activities to being the wife, mother, and manager of the home. In 
another, she may consider it her principal duty to participate in social 
and civic activities. Or her greatest importance may be as the helpful, 
active participant in her husband's job or as consultant to him in his 
business decisions and the development of his career. Finally, she may 
devote most of her time and interest to her own profession and 
career. Occasionally one woman during the course of her life may 
play all of these roles. More often she assumes but one of two. A 
woman in the first role may be regarded as acting her part on the 
family stage — her meaning and defense must be sought in this 
context; in the second she acts her role in the wider arena of the 
community; in the third she is the silent or open partner on the 
job itself; in the last, she is the wife who seeks greater autonomy as 
a career woman. Let us critically examine each of them. 

The family-centered woman knows little or nothing about her 
husband's job or his business and has only minimal relations with 
his business associates and their wives. She may have an active 
social life but within the narrow confines of immediate friends, not 
related to her husband's job or significant to its practical needs. 
Such women may be isolated and cut off from close contact with 
all people outside their immediate families. They may become 
withdrawn and lonely. What they do, although possibly important 
to their marital relations, contributes little to the success of their 
husband's careers. 

Such a role can be vulnerable and dangerous. The experiences 
of the man as he advances broaden and develop him. As he enters 
new and larger worlds he meets men and women whom he admires 
and respects, some of whom may become his friends and his models 
for status advancement. Their goals, values, and activities become 
his. His wife meanwhile often remains much what she was when 
they married and both were people of limited understanding and 
experience. Her social and personal equipment under these conditions 

220 Management Wives: The Kind oi Women Who Make Successful Wives 

often suffers when he measures her by his newly acquired standards. 
She may become increasingly isolated while he seeks elsewhere for 
companionship and intimacy. Divorces sometimes occur; her reveries 
may be filled unhappily with justified or unjustified suspicions and 
jealousies. On the other hand, he may be the kind of person who 
needs and wants ''a safe haven/' a place where he can relax and be 
what it is he has always been. Within the limits of such a role, 
marriages of this kind can be counted rewarding and successful, par- 
ticularly when the wife is adaptive in developing her behavior within 
the home to meet the needs of her husband's advancement. 

The varieties of this type of family-centered woman include 
both adequate and inadequate mothers, but in any case their interests 
are heavily invested in their children. They may act out the role of the 
mother protestingly and with difficulty or they may do it with ease 
and, in helping their children, fulfill themselves. Such women may be 
overinvolved in the lives of their children to the point of domination 
and rejection of their mates. 

In sort, these wives, in all their varieties, except for the fact 
of their marriage to business leaders, are like millions of other women 
in American culture. Whether the woman is limited or has great 
capacity for the role she plays, the important questions for us are: 
How do wives who play this family-centered role relate themselves to 
their husbands' careers? What happens to the women, to the men, 
and to their careers? We will answer these questions later by present- 
ing a few cases of successful and unsuccessful wives who play this role. 

Within the family the community-centered woman, although a 
wife and mother, is essentially a hostess to those guests who seem 
necessary for her husband's advancement. She is also a participant in 
civic, philanthropic, or social affairs, primarily to advance the family's 
social position and to help her husband's career. She may play the 
social game narrowly, within the required limits, by entertaining her 
husband's business associates; or her activities may range widely to 
help translate his economic achievement into social advancement, not 
only for her but for her husband and their children. Obviously, there 
are many varieties of this type of woman, among them being the 
woman who ceases to be, or cannot be, the warm person who is a 
satisfactory wife and creative mother, and the woman who not only 
transforms her husband's economic success into social achievement 

Management Man: How He Lives 221 

for her family but maintains close and rewarding relations with her 
husband and her children as well as with herself. 

A few women, as we said earlier, participate directly in helping 
their husbands solve their business problems — this, when measured 
by the career of the husband, being their primary significance. Some- 
times they do this by full discussion with him, by comment through 
understanding his problems, by actual experience on the job itself, 
or by a basic understanding of business practice and leadership. Such 
women may or may not be ''good wives and mothers"; they may be 
inadequate hostess; they may or may not participate in the com- 

Finally, there is the professional woman following her own career 
who may be adequate or inadequate in helping her husband's advance- 
ment and as a wife and mother. She may be egocentric to the point 
that only her own achievement and self-gratification are important to 
her. In rare cases, however, a woman may be adequate in all the social 
worlds that the wife of a business man has available. Often in the early 
part of the career the wife may work to increase their income, perhaps 
with the hope that her work will develop into a career for herself. 
Sometimes she resumes such a career after the children are grown or 
at the death of her husband. 

The family-centered woman appears not infrequently, but the 
wife who is heavily engaged in civic affairs and the social life of the 
community is most frequent. The wife who is an active and valued 
consultant in business affairs is rare. The career woman seldom ap- 
pears. The demands and the needs of the man's career make a separate 
one for his wife difficult. The necessary changes from place to place 
as he moves up cannot be accommodated to the advancement of the 
wife in a separate job, nor is her own professional career easily fitted 
to that of her husband. Nevertheless, career women — some of them 
with notable success — are married to business leaders. Often their 
marriages occur later than those of women who play the other roles 
and often they take place after one, or both, of them has failed at an 
earlier marriage. The mobile man may have divorced a wife who was 
"no longer adequate" — one who had confined herself to the family 
and had refused, or been unable to grow. The career woman may have 
released herself from a husband because of early conflict as their 
careers were developing. 

The personal needs of the husband may be such that the family- 

Ill Management Wives: The Kind of Women Who Make Successful Wives 

centered wife may be most adaptive and, indeed, the only kind some 
men can tolerate. The single role most likely to be adaptive to the 
needs of a man's career and to fit most easily the social-class sub- 
cultures in v^hich it is placed is the one played on the larger social 
stage of the community. The combined roles of wife and participant 
in civic affairs when played well are likely to be supportive to the man 
and his career. 


Given the fact that we are examining a large and important seg- 
ment of the lifetime of most of these men and women of the business 
elite, perhaps the surest and most revealing way to learn what kinds of 
women succeed and are effective as the wives of business leaders is to 
discover how they think and feel about time, their life spans, and how 
they relate themselves and ''their lifetimes'' to the past, present, and 
future. To accomplish this task we have constructed certain idealized 
models to which the various women fit with varying degrees of accu- 
racy. All of these women who have helped or hindered their husbands' 
achievement have characteristic feelings about themselves and their re- 
lations to time. They relate themselves to the past, present, and future 
rather differently. Some are fleeing from a past they long to forget and 
cannot, for they are forever involved with it, feeling the constant back- 
ward pull of old unresolved problems. Others may or may not be 
running away from equally unpleasant social beginnings, yet find no 
trouble engaging themselves in solving present problems. They have 
little involvement with the past or the future and concern themselves 
with the immediate present. Still others get little satisfaction or re- 
ward from past or present triumphs in their present participation, for 
they are seeking something that for them is to be found only in the 
future. Those who are pulled by the future or engaged with present 
solving of immediate problems usually fill their roles rather easily. 

Those women who look to the past may or may not act easily in 
their roles and perform successfully. They include several types, for 
their thoughts about themselves in relation to their past and their 
varying ways of attachment to it are significantly different. There are 
women who solve all present problems in terms of unsolved past in- 

Management Man; How He Lives 223 

volvements. Consciously or unconsciously they live in the past and are 
too attached to it to relate themselves without difficulty to the present 
or the future. Mobile women who must be constantly learning new 
ways of thinking, feeling, and acting, and unlearning older ways are 
thus under grave handicaps. They struggle unceasingly, spending 
precious psychic and nervous energies fruitlessly to solve yesterday's 
problems rather than devoting their attention to, and discharging their 
energies on, the ever-changing world in which they are implicated by 
their husbands' advancing careers. The learning woman who is easily 
related to the present or to the future can constantly refresh and 
strengthen herself by the satisfactions of new experience. Her sister 
who looks to the past cannot. 

There are also those women who are involved with the past in 
such a way that their present experiences with it reinforce what they 
now do and give them strength to solve problems concerning future 
actions. They can look to, and depend upon, the past with positive 
social results and personal satisfaction, free from unresolved emo- 
tional attachments and dilemmas beyond their grasp; however, their 
attachment is to figures whose power and prestige are symbolically 
and factually related to them as progenitors, persons with whom they 
have had satisfactory relations, who as parents and ancestors provide 
social distinction. Daughters of high-born parents and descendants of 
such ancestors are psychically and socially benefited — materially as 
well as technically aided by their inheritance of the learning that was 
available in this highly valued way of life. Their resources are the 
social and psychic reinforcements that flow from such social strength 
and centainty. 

However, well-born women may suffer from deep involvements 
with their families of birth making it difficult for them to play their 
proper roles in helping their husbands. Casualties, including divorce, 
suicides, and ''social suicides," such as profligate sexual behavior, al- 
coholism, or marriage to a mate of evil or low reputation, often spring 
from these sources. Such women find it more difficult to free them- 
selves from their past than do women of lowly birth because it is the 
custom of their subcultures to look to the past. Their whole signifi- 
cance and that of their social level are founded on their parents and 
ancestry. Difficult emotional adjustment to parents and ancestors 
can be ''solved" for the mobile persons of low status by rejecting them 
and running away. Under the socially approved and rewarded ideolo- 

224 Management Wives: The Kind of Women Who Make Successful Wives 

gies of getting ahead and self-improvement, the basic rejection of their 
parents often can be disguised and their personal dissatisfactions 
masked and robed in a pretty costume. But the woman or man born to 
high status, with parents of distinction and social prestige, cannot 
follow such a familiar and well-marked path. If the involvement with 
the family of birth has been satisfactorily reconstructed to meet the 
needs of maturity there is no need to escape it and even reason to 
identify one's social self with it. 

There is another kind of woman who looks to the past and re- 
lates herself to it. This ability is partly a phenomenon of aging. When 
the leaders and their wives reach, or approach, the age of retirement, 
many relive the events of the past with deep pleasure and a sense of 
accomplishment that give them the fortitude to face an ever-changing 
present. Great emotional involvement with the past at an earlier age 
would not have been adaptive, but now present joys can be enhanced 
with an appreciation of the fulfillment of past effort and achievements 
in present experience. The very role of grandmother when successful 
is often an expression of this feeling. The wife who has played the role 
of a family-centered existence, when she becomes a grandmother, 
may acquire the accumulated honor and respect that often come to 
such women at this time not only from their children but from their 




In Dodsworth, the Nohel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis por- 
trayed with unioigettahle clarity and controlled passion the 
poitiait oi a businessman that was reflected and refracted 
around the world. In the ioUowing picture of a day in the 
Jife oi Samuel Dodsworthy Lewis shows with minute exact- 
ness how the dream fantasy and accomplishments oi one 
man are inextricably involved with the world oi the twen- 
tieth century in which he lives. 

Dodsworth was published in the year oi 1929. On Sep- 
tember third oi that year the great bull market came to an 
end — it had not yet been gored to death, but the moment oi 
truth was there. Another novel, All Quiet on the Western 
Front, was on that hot September day selling far faster than 
Dodsworth but the best seller list, as so frequently happens, 
was recording ancient history. Dodsworth was modern his- 
tory, as modern as the Graf Zeppelin that had just made its 
Erst round-the-world Right. The panic oi October was not to 
come for several weeks, but illusion was still there. As John 
Galbraith uncovered in his book The Great Crash, in mid- 
September The Wall Street Journal printed Mark Twain s 
adage as the thought for the day: 

Don't part with your illusions; when they are gone, you may 
stiiJ exist, hut you have ceased to live. 

* "Dodsworth's Decision" by Sinclair Lewis. From Dodsworth 
by Sinclair Lewis, copyright, 1929 by Harcourt, Brace and 
World, Inc.; renewed © 1957 by Michael Lewis. Reprinted by 
permission of the publishers. Title supplied by Editors. 


226 Dodswoith's Decision 

After the year oi the crash, management man would be far 
more pervasive, far less insular, far less financially comfort- 
able. Dodsworth's butler answered the door to a forgotten 
age but the same aspirations and dreams (and some of the 
illusion) linger on in every car pool today. 

Management Man: How He Lives 227 


r. Alexander Kynance, president of the Unit Auto- 
motive Company, was a small bustling man with a 
large head, an abrupt voice, a lively mind, a magnificent lack of 
scruples, and a love for oratory and Corona-Coronas. He had been 
a section-hand and a railway superintendent, he had the best cellar of 
Burgundies in Detroit, and he made up for his runtiness by barking at 

''Everything all ready? Everything all ready?" he barked at Sam 
Dodsworth, as the dozen representatives of the two companies settled 
down and rested their elbows on the gigantic mirror-surfaced table 
in the gold and oak directors'-room. 

'1 think so," Sam drawled. 

''Just a few things left," said Kynance. "WeVe about decided to 
run the Revelation in between the Chromecar and the Highroad in 
class — drop it three hundred below your price — two-door sedan at 

Sam wanted to protest. Hadn't he kept the price down to the 
very lowest at which his kind of car could be built? But suddenly — 
What difference did it make? The Revelation wasn't his master, his 
religion! He was going to have a life of his own, with Fran, lovely 
loyal Fran, whom he'd imprisoned here in Zenith! 

Let's go! 

He was scarcely listening to Kynance's observations on retaining 
the slogan "You'll revel in a Revelation." Sam had always detested this 
battle-cry. It was the invention of a particularly bright and bounding 
young copy-writer who took regular exercise at the Y.M.C.A., but the 
salesmen loved it. As Kynance snapped, "Good slogan — good slogan 
— full o' pep," Sam mused: 

"They're all human megaphones. And I'm tired." 

When he had rather sadly signed the transfer of control to the 
U.A.C. and his lifework was over, with no chance for retreat, Sam 
shook hands a great deal with a number of people, and was left alone 
with Alec Kynance. 

"Now to real business, old man," Kynance blatted. "You'll be 

228 Dodswoith's Decision 

tickled to death at getting hooked up with a concern that can control 
the world-market one of these days — regular empire, b' God! — in- 
stead of crawling along having to depend on a bunch of so-so assist- 
ants. We want you to come with us, of course. I haven't been hinting 
around. Hinting ain't my way. When Alec Kynance has something 
to say, by God he shoots! I want to offer you the second vice-presi- 
dency of the U.A.G., in general charge of production of all our eight 
cars, including the Rev. You've been getting sixty thousand salary, be- 
sides your stock?" 


''We can offer you eighty-five, and your share in the managers' 
pool, with a good chance for a hundred thou in a few years, and you'll 
probably succeed me when the bootlegged hootch gets me. And 
you'll have first-class production-men under you. You can take it easy 
and just think up mean ideas to shove over. Other night you were 
drooling about how you'd like to make real Ritzy motor caravans with 
electric stoves and radios and everything built in. Try it! We've got 
the capital. And this idea you had about a motorized touring-school 
for boys in summer. Try it! Why, God, we might run all these sum- 
mer camps out of business and make a real killing — get five hundred 
thousand customers — kid that hadn't gone on one of our tours, no 
class to him at all! Try it! And the U.A.C. getting into aeroplane 
manufacture. Go ahead. Draw up your plans. Yes sir, that's the kind 
of support we give a high-class man. When do you want to go to work? 
I suppose you'll have to move to Detroit, but you can get back here 
pretty often. Want to start right in, and see things zip?" 

Sam's fantastic schemes for supercaravans, for an ambulatory 
summer school in which boys should see the whole country from 
Maine pines to San Joaquin wheat-fields, schemes which he had found 
stimulating and not very practical, were soiled by the lobster-faced 
little man's insistence on cashing in. No! 

'Tirst, I think I'll take a vacation," Sam said doubtfully. 
''Haven't had a real one for years. Maybe I'll run over to Europe. May 
stay three months or so." 

"Europe? Rats! Dead's a doornail! Place for women and long- 
haired artists. Dead! Only American loans that keep 'em from burying 
the corpse! All this art! More art in a good shiny spark-plug than in 
all the fat Venus de Mylos they ever turned out. Naw! Go take a run 
through California, maybe grab a drink of good liquor in Mexico, and 

Management Man: How He Lives 229 

then come with us. Look here, Dodsworth. My way of being diplo- 
matic is to come out flat. You necking around with some other con- 
cern? We can't wait. We got to turn out the cars! I can't keep this 
open, and I've offered you our pos-o-lutely highest salary. That's the 
way we do business. Yes or no?" 

'I'm not flirting with any other company. I've had several offers 
and turned them down. Your offer is fair." 

''Fine! Let's sign the contract right now. Got her here! Put 
down your John Hancock, and begin to draw the ole salary from this 
minute, with a month's vacation on pay! How's that?" 

With the noisiness of a little man making an impression, Kyn- 
ance slapped the contract on the glowing directors'-table, flourished 
an enormous red and black fountain pen, and patronizingly poked 
Sam in the shoulder. 

Irritably Sam rumbled, "I can't tie myself up without thinking 
it over. I'll give you my answer as soon as I can. Probably in a week or 
so. But I may want to take a four-months rest in Europe. Never mind 
about the pay meanwhile. Rather feel free." 

"My God, man, what do you think is the purpose of life? Loaf- 
ing? Getting by with doing as little as you can? I tell you, what I al- 
ways say is: there's no rest like a little extra work! You ain't tired — 
you're just fed up with this backwoods town. Come up to Detroit 
and see how we make things hum! Come sit in with us and hear us 
tell Congress where it gets off. Work! That's the caper! I tell you," 
with a grotesque, evangelical sonorousness, "I tell you, Dodsworth, 
to me, work is a religion. Turn not thy hand from the plow.' Do big 
things! Think of it; by making autos we're enabling half the civilized 
world to run into town from their pig-sties and see the movies, and 
the other half to get out of town and give Nature the once-over. 
Twenty million cars in America! And in twenty more years we'll have 
the bloomin' Tibetans and Abyssinians riding on cement roads in 
U.A.C. cars! Talk about Napoleon! Talk about Shakespeare! Why, 
we're pulling off the greatest miracle since the Lord created the 

"Europe? How in hell would you put in four months? Think 
you could stand more'n ten art galleries? I know! I've seen Europe! 
Their Notre Dame is all right for about half an hour, but I'd rather 
see an American assembly-plant, thousand men working like a watch, 
than all their old, bum-lighted, tumbledown churches — " 

230 DodswoitKs Decision 

It was half an hour before Sam got rid of Kynance without antag- 
onizing him, and without signing a contract. 

'Td hke/' Sam reflected, ''to sit under a hnden tree for six 
straight months and not hear one word about Efficiency or Doing Big 
Things or anything more important than the temperature of the beer 
— if there is anything more important/' 

He had fallen into rather a rigid routine. Most days, between 
office and home, he walked to the Union Club in winter, drove to the 
golf course in summer. But tonight he was restless. He could not en- 
dure the fustiness of the old boys at the club. His chauffeur would 
be waiting there, but on his way to the club Sam stopped, with a 
vague notion of tasting foreignness, at a cheap German restaurant. 

It was dark, quiet, free of the bouncing grandeur of Kynances. At 
a greasy oilcloth-covered table he sat sipping coffee and nibbling at 
sugar-crusted coffee-cake. 

''Why should I wear myself out making more money for myself 
— no, for Kynance! He will like hell take my caravans away from me!" 

He dreamed of a very masterwork of caravans: a tiny kitchen 
with electric stove, electric refrigerator; a tiny toilet with showerbath; 
a living-room which should become a bedroom by night — a living- 
room with a radio, a real writing desk; and on one side of the caravan, 
or at the back, a folding verandah. He could see his caravanners din- 
ing on the verandah in a forest fifty miles from any house. 

"Kind of a shame to have 'em ruin any more wilderness. Oh, 
that's just sentimentality," he assured himself. "Let's see. We ought 
to make that up — " He was figuring on a menu. "We ought to pro- 
duce those in quantities for seventeen hundred dollars, and our selling- 
point will be the saving in hotel bills. Like to camp in one myself! I 
will not let Kynance have my ideas! He'd turn the caravans out, flimsy 
and uncomfortable, for eleven hundred, and all he'd think about 
would be how many we could slam on the market. Kynance! Lord, to 
take his orders, to stand his back-slapping, at fifty! No!" 

The German restaurant-keeper said, as one content with all 
seasons and events, "Pretty bad snow tonight." 
^ "Yes." 

And to himself: There's a fellow who isn't worrying about Do- 
ing Big Things. And work isn't his religion. His religion is roast goose, 
which has some sense to it. Yes, let's go, Fran! Then come back and 

Management Man: How He Lives 231 

play with the caravan. ... Or say, for an elaborate rig, why not two 
caravans, one with kitchen and toilet and stores, other with living- 
bedroom, and pitch 'em back to back, with a kind of train-vestibule 
door, and have a real palace for four people? ... I would like to see 
Monte Carlo. Must be like a comic opera. 

His desire for Monte Carlo, for palms and sunshine and the 
estimable fish of the Prince of Monaco, was enhanced by jogging 
through the snowstorm in his car, by being held up in drifts, and 
clutching the undercurving seat during a rather breathless slide uphill 
to Ridge Crest. But when he entered the warmth of the big house, 
when he sat in the library alone (Fran was not yet back from the 
Children's Welfare Bridge), with a whisky-soda and a volume of 
Masereel woodcuts, when he considered his deep chair and the hearth- 
log and the roses, Sam felt the security of his own cave and the as- 
surance to be found in familiar work, in his office-staff, in his clubs, his 
habits and, most of all, his friends and Fran and the children. 

He regarded the library contentedly: the many books, some of 
them read — volumes of history, philosophy, travels, detective stories; 
the oak-framed fireplace with a Mary Cassatt portrait of children 
above it; the blue davenport; the Biedermeyer rug from Fran's kin in 
Germany; the particularly elaborate tantalus. 

'Tretty nice. Hotels — awful! Oh yes, Fll probably go over to the 
U.A.C. But maybe take six weeks or a couple of months in Europe, 
then move to Detroit. But not sell this house! Been mighty happy 
here. Like to come back here and spend our old days. When I really 
make my pile, Fll do something to help turn Zenith into another 
Detroit. Get a million people here. Only, plan the city right. Make it 
the most beautiful city in the world. Not just sit around on my chair 
in Europe and look at famous cities, but make one!" 

Once a month, Sam's closest friends, Tub Pearson, his humor- 
ous classmate who was now the gray and oracular president of the 
Centaur State Bank, Dr. Henry Hazzard, the heart specialist. Judge 
Turpin, and Wheeler, the packing-house magnate, came in for dinner 
and an evening of poker, with Fran as hostess at dinner but conveni- 
ently disappearing after it. 

Fran whisked in from her charity bridge as he was going up to 
dress. In her sleek coat of gray squirrel she was like a snow-sprinkled 
cat pouncing on flying leaves. She tossed her coat and hat to the wait- 

232 Dodswoitlis Decision 

ing maid, and kissed Sam abruptly. She was virginal as the winter 
wind, this girl who was the mother of Emily about to be married. 

'Terrible bore, the bridge. I won seventeen dollars. Fm a good 
little bridge-player, I am. We must hustle it's almost dinnertime oh 
what a bore Lucile McKelvey is with her perpetual gabble about Italy 
I bet ril learn more Italian in three weeks than she has in three trips 
come on my beloved we are late/" 

''We are going then?" 

"Going where?" 

"To Europe." 

"Oh, I don't know. Think how nice it would be for you to 'pitch 
a wicked horseshoe,' as dear Tub would say, in Florida." 

"Oh, quit it!" 

As they tramped up-stairs he tucked his arm about her, but she 
released herself, she smiled at him too brightly — smile glittering and 
flat as white enamel paint — urbane smile that these twenty years had 
made him ashamed of his longing for her — and she said, "We must 
hurry, lamb." And too brightly she added, "Don't drink too much 
tonight. It's all right with people like Tub Pearson, but Judge Turpin 
is so conservative — I know he doesn't like it." 

She had a high art of deflating him, of enfeebling him, with one 
quick, innocent-sounding phrase. By the most careless comment on his 
bulky new overcoat she could make him feel like a lout in it; by 
crisply suggesting that he "try for once to talk about something be- 
sides motors and stocks," while they rode to a formidable dinner for 
an elocutionary senator, she could make him feel so unintelligent that 
he would be silent all evening. The easy self-confidence which weeks 
of industrial triumphs had built up in him she could flatten in five 
seconds. She was, in fact, a genius at planting in him an assurance of 
his inferiority. Thus she did tonight, in her nicest and friendliest way, 
and instantly the lumbering Ajax began to look doubtfully toward 
the poker he had always enjoyed, to fear the opinion of Judge Turpin 
— an eye-glassed sparrow of a man who seemed to admire Sam, and 
who showed his reverence for the law by taking illicit drink for drink 
with him. 

Sam felt unworthy and apologetic till he had dressed and been 
cheered by a glimpse of his daughter, Emily. 

Management Man: How He Lives 233 

Emily, as a child, had been his companion; he had always under- 
stood her, seemed nearer to her than to Fran. She had been a tomboy, 
sturdy of shoulder, jolly as an old family dog out on a walk. 

He used to come to the nursery door, lamenting: 

''Milord, the Duke of Buckin'um lies wownded at the gate!" 

Emily and Brent would wail joyously, ''Not seriowsly, I trust," 
and he answer, "Mortually, I fear." 

They had paid him the compliment of being willing to play with 
him, Emily more than the earnest young Brent. 

But Emily had been drawn, these last five years, into the tempes- 
tuous life of young Zenith; dances, movie parties, swimming in sum- 
mer, astonishingly unrestricted companionship with any number of 
boys; a life which bewildered Sam. Now, at twenty, she was to be mar- 
ried to Harry McKee, assistant general manager of the Vandering Bolt 
and Nut Company (considered in Zenith a most genteel establish- 
ment), ex-tennis-champion, captain during the Great War, a man of 
thirty-four who wore his clothes and his slang dashingly. The parties 
had redoubled, and Sam realized wistfully that Emily and he had no 
more of their old, easy, chuckling talks. 

As he marched down to supervise the cocktails for dinner, Emily 
flew in, blown on the storm, crying at him, "Oh, Samivel, you old 
beautiful! You look like a grand duke in your dinner jacket! You 
sweet thing! Damn it, I've got to be at Mary Edge's in twenty min- 

She galloped up-stairs, and he stood looking after her and sighed. 

"Fd better begin to dig in against the lonely sixties," he brooded. 

He shivered as he went out to tell the butler-for-the-evening how 
to prepare the cocktails, after which, he knew, the butler would 
prepare them to suit himself, and probably drink most of them. 

Sam remembered that this same matter of a butler for parties only 
had been the subject of rather a lot of pourparlers between Fran and him- 
self. She wanted a proper butler in the house, always. And certainly they 
could afford one. But every human being has certain extravagances which 
he dare not assume, lest he offend the affectionate and jeering friends of 
his youth — the man who has ventured on spats dares not take to a monocle 
— the statesman who has ventured on humor dares not be so presumptuous 
as to venture on honesty also. Somehow, Sam believed that he could not 
face Tub Pearson if he had anything so effete as a regular butler in the 
house, and Fran had not won . . . not yet. 

234 DodswoitKs Decision 

Tub Pearson — the Hon. Thos. J. Pearson, former state-senator, 
honorary LL.D. of Winnemac University/ president of the Centaur 
State Bank, director in twelve companies, trustee of the Loring 
Grammar School and of the Zenith Art Institute, chairman of the 
Mayor's City Planning Commission — Tub Pearson was still as much 
the jester as he had been at Yale. He and his lively wife Matilde, 
known as ''Matey," had three children, but neither viceregal honors 
nor domesticity had overlaid Tub's view of himself as a natural 

All through the poker-game, at the large table in Sam's library, 
where they sat with rolled-up sleeves and loosened collars, gurgling 
their whisky-sodas with gratified sighs. Tub jabbed at Judge Turpin 
for sentencing bootleggers while he himself enjoyed his whisky as 
thoroughly as any one in Zenith. When they rested — that is to say, 
re-filled their glasses- — at eleven, and Sam suggested, ''May not have 
any more poker with you lads for a while, because Fran and I may 
trot over to Europe for six months or so," then Tub had an op- 
portunity suitable to his powers: 

"Six months! That's elegant, Sambo. You'll come back with an 
English accent: 'Hy sye, hold chappie, cawn't I 'ave the honor of 
raising the bloomin' pot a couple o' berries, dear old dream?' " 

"Ever hear an Englishman talk like that?" 

"No, but you will! Six months! Oh, don't be a damn' fool! Go 
for two months, and then you'll be able to appreciate getting back to 
a country where you can get ice and a bath-tub." 

"I know it's a heresy," Sam drawled, "but I wonder if there 
aren't a few bath-tubs in Europe? Think I'll go over and see. My deal." 

He did not show it; he played steadily, a rectangular-faced, large 
man, a cigar gripped in his mouth, cards dwarfed in his wide hand; 
but he was raging within: 

"I've been doing what people expected me to, all my life. Foot- 
ball in college, when I'd as soon've stuck in the physics laboratory. 
Make money and play golf and be a good Republican ever since. 
Human cash -register! I'm finished! I'm going!" 

But they heard from him only "Whoop you two more. Cards?" 




In our contemporary life we are far more self-manfpuJated 
fhan manipulated from outside. li one tries to get an objec- 
tive picture oi our liiCj how does it appear? Some patterns oi 
life have been carefully analyzed by Pierre Martineau, Direc- 
tor oi Research in Marketing for the Chicago Tribune and 
one oi the pioneers in that exploration oi what makes people 
buy. Mr. Martineau would not deny that all advertising has 
elements oi persuasion. However, the only things "hidden" 
about advertising are those things hidden in our own emo- 
tional make-up. When we attack advertising too aggressively 
with such high dungeon that there is little reason leit, we are, 
alas, attacking ourselves. That's an old American occupatioUy 
and we seem to thrive on it. 

One sees throughout this book the kind oi attack upon our 
society carried on by brilliant observers all deeply engrossed 
and infatuated with our society, even ii critical. Business has 
seldom been attacked in the British press or in the German 
or French press with the constant clarion call to reform that 
is done here in the United States. The reasons are simple 
enough: only in America do you End business Hie oi such 
importance that the very best minds ieel called upon to 
analyze it. 

* From: Motivation in Advertising (New York: McGraw-Hill 
Book Company) 1957. 


Management Man: How He Lives 237 


t is bewildering to railroad officials that Americans today 
are scarcely interested in the proud traditions of the 
railroads, their vital linkage with the history and development of their 
sections. Tradition bores us now. Instead of being an asset, it is 
virtually a liability to a people looking for the newest — the newest! — 
always the newest/ Trademarks, packages, and advertising styles which 
are supposed to convey the dependability of tradition instead become 
cues that here is something old-fashioned, out of date, stodgy, and 
dull. Psychological obsolescence is the kiss of death. 

Social observers are upsetting as they point to changes in our 
very life goals. Instead of accepting the middle-class ideals instilled in 
our society for centuries — hard work, thrift, self-reliance — now, as a 
nation, we lean on technological advancement and on somebody's 
pension plan for our individual futures. 

In refashioning the editorial formula for our Sunday magazine, 
it was clearly apparent that the pattern of Sunday living has been 
radically transformed. Whereas it was formerly a day of austerity, 
worship, and serious thought, now, in metropolitan areas at least, it 
is a chaotic, lazy, planless period for relaxation, visiting relatives, work- 
ing around the house, golf, and fishing. 

These are merely a few of the multitudinous changes in our style 
of life. Every advertiser has to adjust to these shifts in emphasis, 
because unless his product is seen as fitting these new currents, unless 
the image can acquire some aspects of these changing directions in 
our tastes and beliefs, it can lose its desirabilities. Most of all the 
advertiser would like to present his product as capturing some expres- 
sion of these new values, so that he can ride the crest of sales popu- 
larity. The automobile permits the individual to express the motives 
and tastes which have become paramount in our present style of life. 

This concept means considerably more than a passing fad. It 
refers rather to the underlying social and psychological currents of our 
society, in so far as they become translated into a way of living for 
the individual. Our motive forces are not something that never 
changes. Social pressures on all of us bend us different ways, which 
can mean a constant rearrangement of our motives. In many alien 

238 Style of Liie 

societies, change is very slow. In contrast, our society has always been 
characterized by rapid change. And in the past decade, the tempo of 
change has become explosive, producing, in the opinion of some social 
scientists, greater transformation in our system of values since 1940 
than in the previous 2,000 years of Western history. 

Without trying to be completely definitive, it is important to 
highlight some of the most significant of these currents because our 
advertising has to operate within their limits. Pepsi-Cola was ex- 
tremely successful in surrounding itself with an aura of gay, smart, 
airy sophistication by using a series of girls who epitomized the ideal 
woman of today, as well as a tone of copy which literally breathed 
lightness as opposed to high-calorie anything. 

By contrast to the dismal deficits of railroad passenger operations, 
every airport is bulging with travelers, who see present air transporta- 
tion and service as what they want in their style of living: excitement, 
adventure, super-up-to-dateness, eEcient service from attractive, 
younger personnel, the company of other fashionable travelers like 
themselves, glamour, ultraspeed, a much smarter atmosphere around 
the terminals than is typical of railroad stations. 

It is easy to document such obvious manifestations of change as 
the movement to the suburbs, bigger families, and the spread of color 
to many hitherto drab categories of merchandise. Now even con- 
servative men wear sports shirts and beach clothes in gay colors and 
flowery patterns. We exhibit different preferences in foods, cars, 
furniture, and vacation spots. These are surface evidences of broad, 
sweeping shifts in the master motives of the society. With awareness 
that this social and psychological climate is not measurable, that its 
only documentation is its material evidence all around us, nevertheless 
here are some aspects of our changing style of life which are ex- 
tremely revelant for advertising and merchandising. 

1. The Worship of Youthfulness. In contrast to many societies 
wherein the elders and their way of life determine taste, ever since 
World War I Americans have held up youth as the ideal. Where 
previously women had cultivated the body figures and the styles of 
maturity, now the teen-age-girl figure is the ideal — slight-breasted, 
long-legged, slim, and with a minimum of body curvature. The woman 
of forty or fifty dyes her hair, adopts a young-girl hair style, religiously 
avoids sugar and starches to retain her slimness, and in general tries 
to look like her teen-age daughter. 

Management Man: How He Lives 239 

Many facets of male behavior bear the same stamp — the crew cut, 
going bareheaded, a certain amount of dieting — plus a great deal of 
youthful bravado and daring, such as penchants for sports cars and 
convertibles, trench coats, and so on. A very important part of Ford's 
image is its appeal for youngsters; so therefore older people want it. 
Worlds and worlds of older people in our society want to look young, 
to be considered young beyond the reality of their years. But few 
young people want to be considered old. 

2. The Trend to Casual^ Inioimal Living as Opposed to Foima.1- 
ity. One observer believes that this is a consequence of the blue-collar 
worker's present affluence. Now that he has more money and is chang- 
ing many patterns of living, he still doesn't buy a tuxedo. Informal 
clothes — sports shirts and slacks — are his present equivalent of his 
former habits of relaxing in his undershirt with no shoes on. 

Regardless of origin, the trend to suburban living, the disappear- 
ance of servants, and many other drifts, such as the pressure for more 
leisure, have spread this casual informality all over our society. Its 
evidence is seen in many directions — station wagons, outdoor barbe- 
cue pits, buffet-style entertaining, home construction allowing space 
for game rooms by shrinking the dining room area. A study of psy- 
chological differences between downtown and neighborhood shop- 
ing showed that one of the dislikes for downtown shopping is that 
it is a formal situation. The woman can't go downtown in slacks or 
shorts as she can at a shopping center. 

Extremely formal entertaining, the full-dress-suit situation, has 
practically disappeared from the American scene. Formal wear now 
includes comfortable shirts and shoes, with colorful jackets and ber- 
muda shorts in summer. The point is that throughout modern urban 
America, all living has had to adjust to this desire for casual in- 

3. The Wish iox Individuation — Wanting to Be Diffeient. 
Throughout history, long periods of prosperity have generally per- 
mitted a flowering of self-indulgent motives. Today, as people no 
longer are worrying about bare-subsistence living, they look around 
for means to be individuals. No longer are there many distinctions in 
our society between the ''haves" and ''have-nots." As the gap between 
the top and the bottom extremes of wealth has been narrowed, it is 
no longer possible to be different merely by exhibiting an automobile, 

240 Style oi Life 

a college education for one's children, a Florida vacation, or a home 
in the suburbs. Anyone can have those. 

But we can be different in our tastes. This is the avenue now for 
individuation. Broadly we are still conformists; we aren't going to be 
driving scooters or going barefoot to be different. But within the 
limits of conformity, we can develop individualistic style in all areas 
of consumer wants to show our colorful, interesting personalities 
through our tastes. We look for pastel telephones, new models and 
new decors in our cars — some different beauty in any product, a cer- 
tain luxury, a feature which can be talked about. The wish for atten- 
tion which might be more repressed in hard times, is in full bloom 

History has no record of hedonism on such a grand scale. Miles 
and miles of Miami Beach luxury hotels; the Las Vegas strip of desert 
inns, replete with nightclub-saloon atmosphere and gambling; the 
$200,000 private track built at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, by one enthu- 
siast so that 200 starters can indulge their passion for amateur sports- 
car racing; the 35,000 hunters in Michigan registered for deer hunting 
with a bow and arrow — all these are symptomatic of this determina- 
tion to buy things and go to places which might reflect individuality 
of taste. 

4. Much Greater Sophistication in Behavior. Just as there is a 
physiological aging, so there is a sociological aging. Our society has out- 
grown the naivete of the twenties and the thirties. When a South 
Carolina law prohibited libraries in that state from stocking books by 
Horatio Alger or about Tom Swift, Frank Merriwell, and the Rover 
Boys, a newspaper in a survey ascertained that no boy today bothers 
to read these fiction heroes of yesterday. The libraries didn't stock 
the books because youngsters snickered at them as incredibly out of 
date. Overviews of comic-strip readership reveal how many art treat- 
ments and thematic approaches which were successful years ago are 
ridiculed now. The freshly scrubbed girl in the Coca-Cola ads who 
reeked of hygiene and Victorian virtue has been replaced by exotic, 
sexy movie stars portrayed in exotic, supersophisticated settings. 

There is a gulf in the levels of sophistication between generations. 
Where the car was treated with awe in the thirties and the radio was 
viewed as something which would interfere with driving, today some 
car radios turn on with the ignition key. Where the reader of yester- 
day could be impressed with advertising claims of miraculous cures. 

Management Man: How He Lives 241 

patched-up marriages, even business success from the use of some 
toothpaste or fountain-pen ink, now these approaches are scorned or 
yawned at. Much broader educational opportunities provided by, for 
example, the GI Bill, and world-wide travel in the wars, and the 
natural ''growing up" in taste, accelerated by better communication 
facilities — these are factors leading to more sophistication in view- 
point. Even the mass man wants style in his furniture, style in his 
clothing — not just a pair of shoes, not just any car. 

5. Much Greater Interchangeabiiity in Sex Roles. Very definitely 
our notions about the concepts of masculinity have changed. For 
generations the image of the pioneer man was predominant as the 
mass American man, exalting masculine strength, fighting ability, hard 
physical labor, and contempt for all intellectual and esthetic refine- 
ments. Today we put far more premium on earning a living with 
brains than with hands. More and more in industry, technicians are 
replacing the heavy labor group — a change which will be accentuated 
with automation. 

The young wife today refuses to accept the structure of the patri- 
archal family, which relegated her to the role of a meek drudge and 
set up the husband as lord and master. The husband is no longer the 
head of the family; he's just another member of the family. In the 
typical younger family, the husband good-naturedly helps with shop- 
ping, baby sitting, and the difficult housecleaning. The suburban wife 
shovels snow, takes care of the family car, picks up lumber and paint, 
and pays the bills. Chicago's largest sports chain reports that one- 
third of all sports equipment is now bought by women. Every girl in 
urban society works until she gets married, and a sizable proportion 
permanently contribute to the family income. Consequently, there is 
a definite breaking down of the older masculine-feminine relationship 
and much more of a togetherness in the task of running a home, a 
certain dipping into and speaking acquaintance with each other's 

The new generation of women borrow slacks and man-tailored 
shirts; cigarettes and the cocktail habit; various sports activities, like 
skiing and golf; and certainly more freedom and self-reliance. In our 
study of women's apparel habits in the suburbs, the house dress and 
the hausfrau are disappearing. Modern wives do their housework 
wearing some variety of men's pants. As co-manager of the home with 
a certain executive role, they act like men rather than delicate females. 

242 Style of Life 

With the passing of the pioneer man, men are borrowing color, 
which formerly was reserved for women, for their own sports clothes, 
their cars, their ofEce equipment, even their furnaces. King-size ciga- 
rettes and fancy drinks are thought of as effeminate in psychological 
studies, but men never hesitate to use them when they want them. 
Men are also breaking down many other barriers to give play to various 
latent desires subdued in the pioneer society, where the words "dude'' 
and ''dandy" were common epithets to shame any man who used 
fancy clothes or toiletries. Males today are buying deodorants, hair 
tonics, scented shaving lotions, talcum powder. Toothpaste is partly 
a mouth freshener and breath sweetener. 

6. Leisure Activities as Opportunities for More Self-expiession. 
Money for money's sake is no longer the only goal for Americans. 
Time is becoming an important criterion — time for leisure, for off-job 
pursuits which now permit people greater measures with which to 
express themselves. We no longer make a god out of work. Union 
contracts press for longer vacations and holidays, for shorter work 
weeks as much as for income increases, giving even the mass man time 
to develop his hobbies and his urges to be creative. Actually, the 
person with the most time for leisure is the union-card holder, not the 
executive. One reason for the enormous spread of do-it-yourself activ- 
ities is the fact that here is an outlet for creativity. When we asked 
amateurs about the motives in their purchases of lumber, paint, and 
tile, many of them said, '1 like to work with my hands" or '1 just like 
to make things." 

Hobbies gratify the desire for individuation, but they also are 
channels for creativity. There is an overlapping of motive satisfactions, 
obviously. Because of the increased standardization of job perform- 
ance, man does turn to hobbies as a means of preserving his individ- 
uality. High-fidelity record playing, photography, working with home 
power tools are ways of being different, of being somehodyy of being 
more than just a face in the crowd. But they also gratify the inner 
drives to create. 

The huge rise in participation sports while the spectator sports 
are declining is another evidence of this seeking for more self-expres- 
sion. Such vogues as power boating, skiing, bowling, and pheasant 
shooting are merely different manifestations of the age-old desire of 
man to express his own inner surgings — the same impulses that make 
people draw pictures, sing, write things that will never sell, grow 

Management Man: How He Lives 243 

flowers, make speeches, work arduously for trade associations and 
luncheon clubs, and cultivate avocations. 

7. Seeking of New Adventure. In every list of primary, elemental 
human motives, man's restlessness, his looking for new experiences, 
his curiosity is always included. The old habits, the routine patterns 
of living become boring. Listen to a tune three times, and you dislike 
it. Today, with his new resources and leisure, man goes looking for 
adventure. Who cares for statistics on the safety of train travel? It's 
more fun to live dangerously. Buy yourself $60,000 of life insurance 
and travel by plane. Go to new places, look for new thrills, buy a 
faster car. Find adventure. Just don't live like a dull clod. 

8. Being Modern versus Being Old-iashioned. The word ''new" 
becomes ever more important as an attribute of things and places. I 
have elaborated this value previously: our passionate desire to have the 
very, very latest, just off the drawing boards. The newest must be the 
most exciting; and to a generation steeped in the never-ceasing marvels 
of technology, the newest somehow must be better. Nostalgia, looking 
backward, is a subtle mark of approaching retirement — for the people 
who scan obituaries to keep up with the doings of their friends. We 
have institutionalized change and innovation as part of our American 
way of life. 

These drifts that I have sketched briefly are just some of the 
most evident changes in our present-day urban style of life; and in so 
far as I can see, they have a bearing on advertising. They are intangible, 
they are difficult to study concretely; but clearly they exert tremen- 
dous influence on our behavior, including our buying behavior. As 
we build associations for the images of our brands, our products, our 
stores, our organizations, our symbols have to be reconcilable with 
the currents acting as master motives in American life today. 




The vocabulary oi management man is curiously decked 
out in sartorial splendor. The blue collar gave way to the 
white collar, the gray flannel suit, the Brooks Brothers shirt, 
are all haberdashery to the sociological profiles oi manage- 
ment man in this country just as the bowler and the umbrella 
symbolize the Englishman in the City. The first person to 
point out the emphasis on dress in American culture was "the 
bad boy of American economics." 

*'A11 wastefulness is offensive to native taste/' cried out 
Veblen. He started to attack the wealth within our affluent 
society as early as the nineteenth century. It was not the 
obsolescence of the refrigerator that disturbed him nearly so 
much as the obsolescence of the human spirit that had 
deteriorated under the ghastly brassy furbelows of the Gilded 
Age. A contemporary of the great tycoons, although he him- 
self was born on a farm in Wisconsin of immigrant parents, 
he challenged the captains of industry of his day. They ap- 
peared to him to be wrecking the barque of American society 
on the shoals of too much getting, too much spending, too 
much wasting, and — Jet this be a warning to our own age — 
too much leisure. No critic of management life was more 
imaginative or perceptive. 

In 1899 Thorstein Veblen published The Theory of the 
Leisure Class. As the old century came to a close, he attacked 

* From: The Theory of the Leisure Class (New York: The 
Viking Press, Inc.). 


246 Dress 

with a vociieious vocabulary^ and it was a memorable one, 
the gUtter and the gold oi the society that wasted its time in 
the iashionahle watering places at the turn of the century. 
Vehlen watered down none of his vocabulary in his attack on 
statuSy social standards, and snobbery. Acutely aware of the 
small things that so frequently determine the big picture, he 
was obsessed by the idea of dress. His discussion of the 
economic factors of the corset in the following selection is 
one of the most remarkable and colorful pieces of economic 
s ' thinking ever written. 

Management Man: How He Lives 247 


t will be in place, by way of illustration, to show in some 
detail how the economic principles so far set forth apply 
to everyday facts in some one direction of the life process. For this 
purpose no line of consumption affords a more apt illustration than 
expenditure on dress. It is especially the rule of the conspicuous waste 
of goods that finds expression in dress, although the other, related 
principles of pecuniary repute are also exemplified in the same con- 
trivances. Other methods of putting one's pecuniary standing in 
evidence serve their end eflPectually, and other methods are in vogue 
always and everywhere; but expenditure on dress has this advantage 
over most other methods, that our apparel is always in evidence and 
affords an indication of our pecuniary standing to all observers at the 
first glance. It is also true that admitted expenditure for display is 
more obviously present, and is, perhaps, more universally practiced in 
the matter of dress than in any other line of consumption. No one 
finds difficulty in assenting to the commonplace that the greater part 
of the expenditure incurred by all classes for apparel is incurred for 
the sake of a respectable appearance rather than for the protection of 
the person. And probably at no other point is the sense of shabbiness 
so keenly felt as it is if we fall short of the standard set by social usage 
in this matter of dress. It is true of dress in even a higher degree than 
of most other items of consumption, that people will undergo a very 
considerable degree of privation in the comforts or the necessaries of 
life in order to afford what is considered a decent amount of wasteful 
consumption; so that it is by no means an uncommon occurrence, in 
an inclement climate, for people to go ill clad in order to appear well 
dressed. And the commercial value of the goods used for clothing in 
any modern community is made up to a much larger extent of the 
fashionableness, the reputability of the goods than of the mechanical 
service which they render in clothing the person of the wearer. The 
need of dress is eminently a ''higher" or spiritual need. 

This spiritual need of dress is not wholly, nor even chiefly, a naive 
propensity for display of expenditure. The law of conspicuous waste 
guides consumption in apparel, as in other things, chiefly at the second 
remove, by shaping the canons of taste and decency. In the common 

248 Dress 

run of cases the conscious motive of the wearer or purchaser of con- 
spicuously wasteful apparel is the need of conforming to established 
usage, and of living up to the accredited standard of taste and reputa- 
bility. It is not only that one must be guided by the code of proprieties 
in dress in order to avoid the mortification that comes of unfavorable 
notice and comment, though that motive in itself counts for a great 
deal; but besides that, the requirement of expensiveness is so ingrained 
into our habits of thought in matters of dress that any other than 
expensive apparel is instinctively odious to us. Without reflection or 
analysis, we feel that what is inexpensive is unworthy. ''A cheap coat 
makes a cheap man." "Cheap and nasty" is recognized to hold true 
in dress with even less mitigation than in other lines of consumption. 
On the ground both of taste and of serviceability, an inexpensive 
article of apparel is held to be inferior, under the maxim ''cheap and 
nasty." We find things beautiful, as well as serviceable, somewhat in 
proportion as they are costly. With few and inconsequential excep- 
tions, we all find a costly hand-wrought article of apparel much 
preferable, in point of beauty and of serviceability, to a less expensive 
imitation of it, however cleverly the spurious article may imitate the 
costly original; and what offends our sensibilities in the spurious 
article is not that it falls short in form or color, or, indeed, in visual 
effect in any way. The offensive object may be so close an imitation as 
to defy any but the closest scrutiny; and yet so soon as the counterfeit 
is detected, its aesthetic value, and its commercial value as well, 
declines precipitately. Not only that, but it may be asserted with but 
small risk of contradiction that the aesthetic value of a detected 
counterfeit in dress declines somewhat in the same proportion as the 
counterfeit is cheaper than its original. It loses caste aesthetically 
because it falls to a lower pecuniary grade. 

But the function of dress as an evidence of ability to pay does not 
end with simply showing that the wearer consumes valuable goods in 
excess of what is required for physical comfort. Simple conspicuous 
waste of goods is effective and gratifying as far as it goes; it is good 
piima tacie evidence of pecuniary success, and consequently prima 
facie evidence of social worth. But dress has subtler and more far- 
reaching possibilities than this crude, first-hand evidence of wasteful 
consumption only. If, in addition to showing that the wearer can 
afford to consume freely and uneconomically, it can also be shown in 
the same stroke that he or she is not under the necessity of earning 

Management Man; How He Lives 249 

a livelihood, the evidence of social v^orth is enhanced in a very con- 
siderable degree. Our dress, therefore, in order to serve its purpose 
effectually, should not only be expensive, but it should also make plain 
to all observers that the wearer is not engaged in any kind of produc- 
tive labor. In the evolutionary process by which our system of dress 
has been elaborated into its present admirably perfect adaptation to 
its purpose, this subsidiary line of evidence has received due attention. 
A detailed examination of what passes in popular apprehension for 
elegant apparel will show that it is contrived at every point to convey 
the impression that the wearer does not habitually put forth any 
useful effort. It goes without saying that no apparel can be considered 
elegant, or even decent, if it shows the effect of manual labor on the 
part of the wearer, in the way of soil or wear. The pleasing effect of 
neat and spotless garments is chiefly, if not altogether, due to their 
carrying the suggestion of leisure — exemption from personal contact 
with industrial processes of any kind. Much of the charm that invests 
the patent-leather shoe, the stainless linen, the lustrous cylindrical hat, 
and the walking-stick, which so greatly enhance the native dignity of 
a gentleman, comes of their pointedly suggesting that the wearer 
cannot when so attired bear a hand in any employment that is directly 
and immediately of any human use. Elegant dress serves its purpose 
of elegance not only in that it is expensive, but also because it is the 
insignia of leisure. It not only shows that the wearer is able to consume 
a relatively large value, but it argues at the same time that he consumes 
without producing. 

The dress of women goes even farther than that of men in the 
way of demonstrating the wearer's abstinence from productive employ- 
ment. It needs no argument to enforce the generalization that the 
more elegant styles of feminine bonnets go even farther towards 
making work impossible than does the man's high hat. The woman's 
shoe adds the so-called French heel to the evidence of enforced leisure 
afforded by its polish; because this high heel obviously makes any, 
even the simplest and most necessary manual work extremely difficult. 
The like is true even in a higher degree of the skirt and the rest of the 
drapery which characterizes woman's dress. The substantial reason for 
our tenacious attachment to the skirt is just this: it is expensive and it 
hampers the wearer at every turn and incapacitates her for all useful 
exertion. The like is true of the feminine custom of wearing the hair 
excessively long. 

250 Diess 

But the woman's apparel not only goes beyond that of the mod- 
ern man in the degree in which it argues exemption from labor; it 
also adds a peculiar and highly characteristic feature which differs in 
kind from anything habitually practiced by the men. This feature is 
the class of contrivances of which the corset is the typical example. 
The corset is, in economic theory, substantially a mutilation, under- 
gone for the purpose of lowering the subject's vitality and rendering 
her permanently and obviously unfit for work. It is true, the corset 
impairs the personal attractions of the wearer, but the loss suffered 
on that score is offset by the gain in reputability which comes of her 
visibly increased expensiveness and infirmity. It may broadly be set 
down that the womanliness of woman's apparel resolves itself, in point 
of substantial fact, into the more effective hindrance to useful exertion 
offered by the garments peculiar to women. This difference between 
masculine and feminine apparel is here simply pointed out as a char- 
acteristic feature. The ground of its occurrence will be discussed 

So far, then, we have, as the great and dominant norm of dress, 
the broad principle of conspicuous waste. Subsidiary to this principle, 
and as a corollary under it, we get as a second norm the principle of 
conspicuous leisure. In dress construction this norm works out in the 
shape of divers contrivances going to show that the wearer does not 
and, as far as it may conveniently be shown, can not engage in 
productive labor. Beyond these two principles there is a third of 
scarcely less constraining force, which will occur to any one who 
reflects at all on the subject. Dress must not only be conspicuously 
expensive and inconvenient, it must at the same time be up to date. 
No explanation at all satisfactory has hitherto been offered of the 
phenomenon of changing fashions. The imperative requirement of 
dressing in the latest accredited manner, as well as the fact that this 
accredited fashion constantly changes from season to season, is suffi- 
ciently familiar to every one, but the theory of this flux and change 
has not been worked out. We may of course say, with perfect con- 
sistency and truthfulness, that this principle of novelty is another 
corollary under the law of conspicuous waste. Obviously, if each gar- 
ment is permitted to serve for but a brief term, and if none of last 
season's apparel is carried over and made further use of during the 
present season, the wasteful expenditure on dress is greatly increased. 
This is good as far as it goes, but it is negative only. Pretty much all 

Management Man: How He Lives 2S1 

that this consideration warrants us in saying is that the norm of 
conspicuous waste exercises a controlhng surveillance in all matters of 
dress, so that any change in the fashions must conform to the require- 
ment of wastefulness; it leaves unanswered the question as to the 
motive for making and accepting a change in the prevailing styles, and 
it also fails to explain why conformity to a given style at a given time 
is so imperatively necessary as we know it to be. 

For a creative principle, capable of serving as motive to invention 
and innovation in fashions, we shall have to go back to the primitive, 
non-economic motive with which apparel originated — the motive of 
adornment. Without going into an extended discussion of how and 
why this motive asserts itself under the guidance of the law of expen- 
siveness, it may be stated broadly that each successive innovation in 
the fashions is an effort to reach some form of display which shall 
be more acceptable to our sense of form and color or of effectiveness, 
than that which it displaces. The changing styles are the expression 
of a restless search for something which shall commend itself to our 
aesthetic sense; but as each innovation is subject to the selective action 
of the norm of conspicuous waste, the range within which innovation 
can take place is somewhat restricted. The innovation must not only 
be more beautiful, or perhaps oftener less offensive, than that which 
it displaces, but it must also come up to the accepted standard of 

It would seem at first sight that the result of such an unremitting 
struggle to attain the beautiful in dress should be a gradual approach 
to artistic perfection. We might naturally expect that the fashions 
should show a well-marked trend in the direction of some one or more 
types of apparel eminently becoming to the human form; and we 
might even feel that we have substantial ground for the hope that 
today, after all the ingenuity and effort which have been spent on dress 
these many years, the fashions should have achieved a relative perfec- 
tion and a relative stability, closely approximating to a permanently 
tenable artistic ideal. But such is not the case. It would be very haz- 
ardous indeed to assert that the styles of today are intrinsically more 
becoming than those of ten years ago, or than those of twenty, or 
fifty, or one hundred years ago. On the other hand, the assertion freely 
goes uncontradicted that styles in vogue two thousand years ago are 
more becoming than the most elaborate and painstaking constructions 
of today. 

2S1 Diess 

The explanation of the fashions just offered, then, does not fully 
explain, and we shall have to look farther. It is well known that certain 
relatively stable styles and types of costume have been worked out in 
various parts of the world; as, for instance, among the Japanese, 
Chinese, and other Oriental nations; likewise among the Greeks, 
Romans, and other Eastern peoples of antiquity; so also, in later times, 
among the peasants of nearly every country of Europe. These national 
or popular costumes are in most cases adjudged by competent critics 
to be more becoming, more artistic, than the fluctuating styles of 
modern civilized apparel. At the same time they are also, at least 
usually, less obviously wasteful; that is to say, other elements than that 
of a display of expense are more readily detected in their structure. 

These relatively stable costumes are, commonly, pretty strictly 
and narrowly localized, and they vary by slight and systematic grada- 
tions from place to place. They have in every case been worked out by 
peoples or classes which are poorer than we, and especially they belong 
in countries and localities and times where the population, or at least 
the class to which the costume in question belongs, is relatively homo- 
geneous, stable, and immobile. That is to say, stable costumes which 
will bear the test of time and perspective are worked out under 
circumstances where the norm of conspicuous waste asserts itself less 
imperatively than it does in the large modern civilized cities, whose 
relatively mobile wealthy population today sets the pace in matters of 
fashion. The countries and classes which have in this way worked out 
stable and artistic costumes have been so placed that the pecuniary 
emulation among them has taken the direction of a competition in 
conspicuous leisure rather than in conspicuous consumption of goods. 
So that it will hold true in a general way that fashions are least stable 
and least becoming in those communities where the principle of a 
conspicuous waste of goods asserts itself most imperatively, as among 
ourselves. All this points to an antagonism between expensiveness and 
artistic apparel. In point of practical fact, the norm of conspicuous 
waste is incompatible with the requirement that dress should be 
beautiful or becoming. And this antagonism offers an explanation of 
that restless change in fashion which neither the canon of expensive- 
ness nor that of beauty alone can account for. 

The standard of reputability requires that dress should show 
wasteful expenditure; but all wastefulness is offensive to native taste. 
The psychological law has already been pointed out that all men — and 

Aiana£:ement Man; How He Lives 253 

women perhaps even in a higher degree — abhor futihty, whether of 
effort or of expenditure — much as Nature was once said to abhor a 
vacuum. But the principle of conspicuous waste requires an obviously 
futile expenditure; and the resulting conspicuous expensiveness of 
dress is therefore intrinsically ugly. Hence we find that in all innova- 
tions in dress, each added or altered detail strives to avoid condem- 
nation by showing some ostensible purpose, at the same time that the 
requirement of conspicuous waste prevents the purposefulness of 
these innovations from becoming anything more than a somewhat 
transparent pretense. Even in its freest flights, fashion rarely if ever 
gets away from a simulation of some ostensible use. The ostensible 
usefulness of the fashionable details of dress, however, is always so 
transparent a make-believe, and their substantial futility presently 
forces itself so baldly upon our attention as to become unbearable, and 
then we take refuge in a new style. But the new style must conform 
to the requirement of reputable wastefulness and futility. Its futility 
presently becomes as odious as that of its predecessor; and the only 
remedy which the law of waste allows us is to seek relief in some new 
construction, equally futile and equally untenable. Hence the essential 
ugliness and the unceasing change of fashionable attire. 

Having so explained the phenomenon of shifting fashions, the 
next thing is to make the explanation tally with everyday facts. 
Among these everyday facts is the well-known liking which all men 
have for the styles that are in vogue at any given time. A new style 
comes into vogue and remains in favor for a season, and, at least so 
long as it is a novelty, people very generally find the new style attrac- 
tive. The prevailing fashion is felt to be beautiful. This is due partly 
to the relief it affords in being different from what went before it, 
partly to its being reputable. As indicated before, the canon of 
reputability to some extent shapes our tastes, so that under its guid- 
ance anything will be accepted as becoming until its novelty wears 
off, or until the warrant of reputability is transferred to a new and 
novel structure serving the same general purpose. That the alleged 
beauty, or ''loveliness," of the styles in vogue at any given time is 
transient and spurious only is attested by the fact that none of the 
many shifting fashions will bear the test of time. When seen in the 
perspective of half-a-dozen years or more, the best of our fashions 
strike us as grotesque, if not unsightly. Our transient attachment to 
whatever happens to be the latest rests on other than aesthetic 

2S4 Dress 

grounds, and lasts only until our abiding aesthetic sense has had time 
to assert itself and reject this latest indigestible contrivance. 

The process of developing an aesthetic nausea takes more or less 
time; the length of time required in any given case being inversely as 
the degree of intrinsic odiousness of the style in question. This time 
relation between odiousness and instability in fashions affords ground 
for the inference that the more rapidly the styles succeed and displace 
one another, the more offensive they are to sound taste. The presump- 
tion, therefore, is that the farther the community, especially the 
wealthy classes of the community, develop in wealth and mobility and 
in the range of their human contact, the more imperatively will the 
law of conspicuous waste assert itself in matters of dress, the more 
will the sense of beauty tend to fall into abeyance or be overborne by 
the canon of pecuniary reputability, the more rapidly will fashions 
shift and change, and the more grotesque and intolerable will be the 
varying styles that successively come into vogue. 

There remains at least one point in this theory of dress yet to be 
discussed. Most of what has been said applies to men's attire as well 
as to that of women; although in modern times it applies at nearly all 
points with greater force to that of women. But at one point the dress 
of women differs substantially from that of men. In woman's dress 
there is obviously greater insistence on such features as testify to the 
wearer's exemption from or incapacity for all vulgarly productive em- 
ployment. This characteristic of woman's apparel is of interest, not 
only as completing the theory of dress, but also as confirming what 
has already been said of the economic status of women, both in the 
past and in the present. 

As has been seen in the discussion of woman's status under the 
heads of Vicarious Leisure and Vicarious Consumption, it has in the 
course of economic development become the office of the woman to 
consume vicariously for the head of the household; and her apparel is 
contrived with this object in view. It has come about that obviously 
productive labor is in a peculiar degree derogatory to respectable 
women, and therefore special pains should be taken in the construc- 
tion of women's dress, to impress upon the beholder the fact (often 
indeed a fiction) that the wearer does not and can not habitually 
engage in useful work. Propriety requires respectable women to abstain 
more consistently from useful effort and to make more of a show of 
leisure than the men of the same social classes. It grates painfully on 

Management Man: How He Lives 2SS 

our nerves to contemplate the necessity of any well-bred woman's 
earning a livelihood by useful work. It is not ''woman's sphere." Her 
sphere is within the household, which she should ''beautify/' and of 
which she should be the "chief ornament." The male head of the 
household is not currently spoken of as its ornament. This feature 
taken in conjunction with the other fact that propriety requires more 
unremitting attention to expensive display in the dress and other 
paraphernalia of women, goes to enforce the view already implied in 
what has gone before. By virtue of its descent from a patriarchal past, 
our social system makes it the woman's function in an especial degree 
to put in evidence her household's ability to pay. According to the 
modern civilized scheme of life, the good name of the household to 
which she belongs should be the special care of the woman; and the 
system of honorific expenditure and conspicuous leisure by which this 
good name is chiefly sustained is therefore the woman's sphere. In the 
ideal scheme, as it tends to realize itself in the life of the higher 
pecuniary classes, this attention to conspicuous waste of substance and 
effort should normally be the sole economic function of the woman. 

At the stage of economic development at which the women were 
still in the full sense the property of the men, the performance of 
conspicuous leisure and consumption came to be part of the services 
required of them. The women being not their own masters, obvious 
expenditure and leisure on their part would redound to the credit of 
their master rather than to their own credit; and therefore the more 
expensive and the more obviously unproductive the women of the 
household are, the more creditable and more effective for the purpose 
of reputability of the household or its head will their life be. So much 
so that the women have been required not only to afford evidence of 
a life of leisure, but even to disable themselves for useful activity. 

It is at this point that the dress of men falls short of that of 
women, and for sufficient reason. Conspicuous waste and conspicuous 
leisure are reputable because they are evidence of pecuniary strength; 
pecuniary strength is reputable or honorific because, in the last analy- 
sis, it argues success and superior force; therefore the evidence of 
waste and leisure put forth by any individual in his own behalf cannot 
consistently take such a form or be carried to such a pitch as to argue 
incapacity or marked discomfort on his part; as the exhibition would 
in that case show not superior force, but inferiority, and so defeat its 
own purpose. So, then, wherever wasteful expenditure and the show 

2S6 Diess 

of abstention from effort is normally, or on an average, carried to the 
extent of showing obvious discomfort or voluntarily induced physical 
disability, there the immediate inference is that the individual in 
question does not perform this wasteful expenditure and undergo this 
disability for her own personal gain in pecuniary repute, but in behalf 
of some one else to whom she stands in a relation of economic 
dependence; a relation which in the last analysis must, in economic 
theory, reduce itself to a relation of servitude. 

To apply this generalization to women's dress, and put the matter 
in concrete terms: the high heel, the skirt, the impracticable bonnet, 
the corset, and the general disregard of the wearer's comfort which is 
an obvious feature of all civilized women's apparel, are so many items 
of evidence to the effect that in the modern civilized scheme of life 
the woman is still, in theory, the economic dependent of the man — 
that, perhaps in a highly idealized sense, she still is the man's chattel. 
The homely reason for all this conspicuous leisure and attire on the 
part of women lies in the fact that they are servants to whom, in the 
differentiation of economic functions, has been delegated the office of 
putting in evidence their master's ability to pay. 

There is a marked similarity in these respects between the apparel 
of women and that of domestic servants, especially liveried servants. 
In both there is a very elaborate show of unnecessary expensiveness, 
and in both cases there is also a notable disregard of the physical 
comfort of the wearer. But the attire of the lady goes farther in its 
elaborate insistence on the idleness, if not on the physical infirmity of 
the wearer, than does that of the domestic. And this is as it should be; 
for in theory, according to the ideal scheme of the pecuniary culture, 
the lady of the house is the chief menial of the household. 

Besides servants, currently recognized as such, there is at least 
one other class of persons whose garb assimilates them to the class of 
servants and shows many of the features that go to make up the 
womanliness of woman's dress. This is the priestly class. Priestly vest- 
ments show, in accentuated form, all the features that have been 
shown to be evidence of a servile status and a vicarious life. Even 
more strikingly than the everyday habit of the priest, the vestments, 
properly so called, are ornate, grotesque, inconvenient, and, at least 
ostensibly, comfortless to the point of distress. The priest is at the 
same time expected to refrain from useful effort and, when before the 
public eye, to present an impassively disconsolate countenance, very 

Management Man; How He Lives 2S7 

much after the manner of a well-trained domestic servant. The shaven 
face of the priest is a further item to the same effect. This assimilation 
of the priestly class to the class of body servants, in demeanor and 
apparel, is due to the similarity of the two classes as regards economic 
function. In economic theory, the priest is a body servant, construc- 
tively in attendance upon the person of the divinity whose livery he 
wears. His livery is of a very expensive character, as it should be in 
order to set forth in a beseeming manner the dignity of his exalted 
master; but it is contrived to show that the wearing of it contributes 
little or nothing to the physical comfort of the wearer, for it is an 
item of vicarious consumption, and the repute which accrues from its 
consumption is to be imputed to the absent master, not to the servant. 

The line of demarcation between the dress of women, priests, and 
servants, on the one hand, and of men, on the other hand, is not 
always consistently observed in practice, but it will scarcely be dis- 
puted that it is always present in a more or less definite way in the 
popular habits of thought. There are of course also free men, and not 
a few of them, who, in their blind zeal for faultless reputable attire, 
transgress the theoretical line between man's and woman's dress, to 
the extent of arraying themselves in apparel that is obviously designed 
to vex the mortal frame; but everyone recognizes without hesitation 
that such apparel for men is a departure from the normal. We are 
in the habit of saying that such dress is ''effeminate"; and one some- 
times hears the remark that such or such an exquisitely attired gentle- 
man is as well dressed as a footman. 

Certain apparent discrepancies under this theory of dress merit 
a more detailed examination, especially as they mark a more or less 
evident trend in the later and maturer development of dress. The 
vogue of the corset offers an apparent exception from the rule of 
which it has here been cited as an illustration. A closer examination, 
however, will show that this apparent exception is really a verification 
of the rule that the vogue of any given element or feature in dress rests 
on its utility as an evidence of pecuniary standing. It is well known 
that in the industrially more advanced communities the corset is 
employed only within certain fairly well defined social strata. The 
women of the poorer classes, especially of the rural population, do 
not habitually use it, except as a holiday luxury. Among these classes 
the women have to work hard, and it avails them little in the way of 
a pretense of leisure to so crucify the flesh in everyday life. The holi- 

2S8 Dress 

day use of the contrivance is due to imitation of a higher-class canon 
of decency. Upwards from this low level of indigence and manual 
labor, the corset was until within a generation or two nearly indispen- 
sable to a socially blameless standing for all women, including the 
wealthiest and most reputable. This rule held so long as there still was 
no large class of people wealthy enough to be above the imputation of 
any necessity for manual labor and at the same time large enough to 
form a self-sufficient, isolated social body whose mass would afford a 
foundation for special rules of conduct within the class, enforced by 
the current opinion of the class alone. But now there has grown up 
a large enough leisure class possessed of such wealth that any aspersion 
on the score of enforced manual employment would be idle and 
harmless calumny; and the corset has therefore in large measure fallen 
into disuse within this class. 

The exceptions under this rule of exemption from the corset are 
more apparent than real. They are the wealthy classes of countries 
with a lower industrial structure — nearer the archaic, quasi-industrial 
type — together with the later accessions of the wealthy classes in the 
more advanced industrial communities. The latter have not yet had 
time to divest themselves of the plebeian canons of taste and of 
reputability carried over from their former, lower pecuniary grade. 
Such survival of the corset is not infrequent among the higher social 
classes of those American cities, for instance, which have recently and 
rapidly risen into opulence. If the word be used as a technical term, 
without any odious implication, it may be said that the corset persists 
in great measure through the period of snobbery — the interval of 
uncertainty and of transition from a lower to the upper levels of 
pecuniary culture. That is to say, in all countries which have inherited 
the corset it continues in use wherever and so long as it serves its 
purpose as an evidence of honorific leisure by arguing physical disabil- 
ity in the wearer. The same rule of course applies to other mutilations 
and contrivances for decreasing the visible efficiency of the individual. 

Something similar should hold true with respect to divers items 
of conspicuous consumption, and indeed something of the kind does 
seem to hold to a slight degree of sundry features of dress, especially 
if such features involve a marked discomfort or appearance of discom- 
fort to the wearer. During the past one hundred years there is a 
tendency perceptible, in the development of men's dress especially, to 
discontinue methods of expenditure and the use of symbols of leisure 
which must have been irksome, which may have served a good pur- 

Management Man: How He Lives 259 

pose in their time, but the continuation of which among the upper 
classes today would be a work of supererogation; as, for instance, the 
use of powdered wigs and of gold lace, and the practice of constantly 
shaving the face. There has of late years been some slight recrudes- 
cence of the shaven face in polite society, but this is probably a 
transient and unadvised mimicry of the fashion imposed upon body 
servants, and it may fairly be expected to go the way of the powdered 
wig of our grandfathers. 

These indices, and others which resemble them in point of the 
boldness with which they point out to all observers the habitual use- 
lessness of those persons who employ them, have been replaced by 
other, more delicate methods of expressing the same fact; methods 
which are no less evident to the trained eyes of that smaller, select 
circle whose good opinion is chiefly sought. The earlier and cruder 
method of advertisement held its ground so long as the public to 
which the exhibitor had to appeal comprised large portions of the 
community who were not trained to detect delicate variations in the 
evidences of wealth and leisure. The method of advertisement under- 
goes a refinement when a sufficiently large wealthy class has developed, 
who have the leisure for acquiring skill in interpreting the subtler 
signs of expenditure. ''Loud" dress becomes offensive to people of 
taste, as evincing an undue desire to reach and impress the untrained 
sensibilities of the vulgar. To the individual of high breeding, it is 
only the more honorific esteem accorded by the cultivated sense of 
the members of his own high class that is of material consequence. 
Since the wealthy leisure class has grown so large, or the contact of 
the leisure-class individual with members of his own class has grown 
so wide, as to constitute a human environment sufficient for the 
honorific purpose, there arises a tendency to exclude the baser ele- 
ments of the population from the scheme even as spectators whose 
applause or mortification should be sought. The result of all this is a 
refinement of methods, a resort to subtler contrivances, and a spiritu- 
alization of the scheme of symbolism in dress. And as this upper 
leisure class sets the pace in all matters of decency, the result for the 
rest of society also is a gradual amelioration of the scheme of dress. As 
the community advances in wealth and culture, the ability to pay is 
put in evidence by means which require a progressively nicer discrimi- 
nation in the beholder. This nicer discrimination between advertising 
media is in fact a very large element of the higher pecuniary culture. 




Commentators upon the American scene are constantly 
summing up facets of American Jife with pithy phrases that 
more frequently pucker the picture rather than portray it 
accurately. America is the society of ''beer cans by the high- 
way," ''cracks in the picture window," "spht-level traps." If 
we are to beUeve these commentators, the world in which 
management man lives is far more dangerous than the jungle 
from which his ancestors emerged, far more threatening than 
the ravages with which nature had affronted man since Eden, 
and far more self-deluding than the world of the ancient 
hunter who painted on walls so that he might successfully 
bag his deer. 

In all fairness, management man has made a little progress. 
After all, he does open the beer can with something except 
his teeth. 

Some of the most perceptive pictures of our time continue 
to appear not in these imaginative reports but in the stories 
and novels that try to convey more succinctly and with more 
sensitivity the pressures, problems and, as The New York 
Times once said, ''the tribal customs of the men in gray 
flannel suits." As American as the fantasy of Mom's apple 
pie, The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit has nonetheless 

* From: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (Simon and 
Shuster, Inc.) 1955. 


162 The Man in iht Gray FJannel Suit 

been translated and ^viblish^d inio nineteen different foreign 

In the following selection horn Sloan Wilson's Tlie Man 
in the Gray Flannel Suit, there is more than one echo 
iamiliai to every management man, woman, and we dare 
say, child. In this vignette the morning of management Hie 
starts with a bang. 

Management Man; How He Lives 263 

V V d 

hen Tom awoke in the morning, Betsy was already 
dressed. Her hair was combed and she had put 
on hpstick. 

''What time is it?" he asked. 

"Good God/' he said. "Go away. Fve another hour to sleep." 
"No you don't," she said. "No more rushing for the train." 

"This is the new regime. We're going to have a leisurely breakfast 
before you go to work." 
"Oh, God!" he said. 

The three children came in and stood by the bed staring at him. 
Their hair was all combed, and they had on freshly ironed clothes. 
"Momma got us up early," Janey said mournfully. "Are you going to 
get up too?" 

"He certainly is!" Betsy said. "Tom, Fve got a lot of important 
things I want to say to you. Get up this minute!" 

There didn't seem to be much chance of getting any more sleep, 
so Tom climbed out of bed, groped his way to the bathroom, and 
started to shave. When he went downstairs, he heard a coffeepot 
percolating. The coffee smelled good. In the kitchen he found the 
breakfast table fully set and waffles cooking. "What's going on?" he 
asked Betsy. 

"Breakfast," she said. "No more instant coffee. No more grabbing 
a piece of toast to eat on the way to the station. We're going to start 
living sanely,'' 

He sat down and poured some maple sirup on a waffle. 
"No more hotdogs and hamburgers for dinner," Betsy said. 
"I'm going to start making stews and casseroles and roasts and things." 
"Just watch the grocery bill," he said. 
"No more television." 

"No more television. I'm going to give the damn set away." 
"What for?" 
"Bad for the kids," she said. "Instead of shooing them off to the 

264 The Man in the Gray Fhnnel Suit 

television set, we're going to sit in a family group and read aloud. And 
you ought to get your mandolin fixed up. We could have friends in 
and sing — weVe been having too much passive entertainment.'' 

Tom poured himself a fragrant cup of cofEee. 'Til need the 
television for my work/' he said. 

Betsy ignored him. ''No more homogenized milk/' she said. 
"We're going to save two cents a quart and shake the bottle ourselves." 


"And we're going to church every Sunday. We're going to stop 
lying around Sunday mornings, drinking Martinis. We're going to 
church in a family group." 

"All right." 

"Peteir Betsy said. 

Pete had just slowly and deliberately poured half the bottle of 
maple sirup over his waffle. The sirup had overflowed the plate and 
was now dripping on the floor. "You know you shouldn't do that!" 

"Don't be cross/' Janey said. "It was an accident." 

"It was not an accident/' Barbara said. "He did it on purpose. 
I saw him." 

"Don't be a tattletale/' Betsy said, wiping up the sirup with a 
damp rag. "You children are going to learn some table manners. No 
waffles for you, Pete." 

Pete immediately began to howl at the top of his lungs. "Give 
him his waffle," Tom said hastily. "It was an accident." 

"No," Betsy said. "We're going to start having some consistent 
punishment around here." 

Pete put his thumb in his mouth and stared at her solemnly. 

"It's almost time for me to catch my train," Tom said. "Are you 
going to drive me to the station, or can I take the car?" 

"You're going to walk!" she said. "It's time you started getting 
some exercise." 

"I'm going to take the car," he said. "Unless you want to 
drive me." 

"Can't you walk?" ■ 

"I'm tired this morning," he said. "Are you going to drive, or 
shall I take the car?" 

"I'll drive," she said judiciously. "Get in the car, kids!" 

The children scrambled into the car. All the way to the station, 
Betsy sat uncomfortably erect. Hardly any cars were at the station 

Management Man: How He Lives 26 S 

when they got there, and they saw they had ten minutes to wait for 
the train. They sat in silence. 

'Tou think I'm being silly, don't you?" Betsy said suddenly. 

"I'm just a little startled." 

''We ought to start doing the things we believe in," she said. 
''We've got a lot of hard work ahead of us, and we better start now." 

He kissed her and went to buy his paper. On the train it was 
both cool and quiet. He sank down in a blue plush-covered seat. All 
up and down the aisle men were sitting, motionless and voiceless, 
reading their papers. Tom opened his and read a long story about 
negotiations in Korea. A columnist debated the question of when 
Russia would have hydrogen bombs to drop on the United States. 
Tom folded his paper and stared out the window at the suburban 
stations gliding by. He wondered what it would be like to work for 
Ogden and Hopkins, and he wondered whether Betsy's schemes could 
possibly turn out successfully. What would happen if he got fired by 
Hopkins and Betsy's real-estate deals turned into a fiasco? 

"It doesn't really matter." The words came to his mind so clearly 
that he half thought someone had spoken them in his ear. 

"Here goes nothing." 



Some OJ His Problems 

V \ >. \ I ': -f 




Management man no longer attacks the elements as did 
the farmer, the sailor, the hunter: he can, as William H. 
Whyte advises, attack the organization or better still, ii we 
are to judge by the folklore oi organization literature, attack 
personality tests. In a Eeld where *'ethics,'* ^'judgment/' 
"integrity," ''ability," are so rampant, it is curious that dis- 
honesty is so widely heralded. In THE ORGANIZATION 
MAN, William Whyte suggested that there was hut one way 
to combat the personality test: cheat. Darrell Huff, author oi 
HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS suggests ''an elective 
method oi defeating a personality test is simply to adopt 
another ready-made personality." Mr. HuS once took a per- 
sonality test himself by simply imagining that he himseli was 
Willis Wayde, whom we have met on pages 171. In that 
disguise, Mr. Hui? was "iriendly, tactiul, sympathetic, able 
to express the ieelings appropriate to the moment." He was 
"sensitive to praise and criticism and eager to conform." He 
was persevering, conscientious, orderly in all matters, adapt- 
able, idealistic, loyal, and happy working with other people. 

The truth is, oi course, that personality tests have emerged 
as a tool to help us in this ever complex world. Very iew 
people who have undertaken such tests have the objectivity 

* From: In One Head and Out the Other (New York: Simon 
and Schuster, Inc.) 1951. 


270 If You Are Feeling Down, Read This 

that makes it possible for them to understand the theory 
behind them. It is helpful to know whether we are squares 
in round holes, or, ii we may paraphrase the greatest humor- 
ous sociologist in this field, Roger Price, whether we are just 
> squares. 

' ' The following is a personality test you may safely take 

without loss of prestige^ job, status, or even morale. If you 
are feeling high, you will rate very well; and if you are feeling 
down, the results will amaze you. 

Management Man: Some of His Piohlems 271 

1 1 

hink how superior you are to a cherrystone clam. 

Think how much more superior you are to the clam 
than the most important man who ever lived is superior to you. 

Let us look at the difference between man and the clam. In 
order to arrive at a scientific estimate of the contrast, I recently 
compared my brother Clarence and an exceptionally fine specimen 
of Long Island clam. I conducted an exhaustive series of tests, and I 
append here a table showing the results, which even exceeded my 
hopeful expectations. 




Motor Ability 

+ 12 

+ 18 

Sense of Humor 






Physical Attractiveness 



Ability to Remain Under Water 






Taste with Horseradish 



Ability to Keep Mouth Shut 





+ 100 


+ 300 


Sex Activity 



Political Influence 



TOTALS— Clarence: Plus ( + ) 560 
Clam: Minus (-) 30 

These tests proved Clarence's superiority over the clam beyond 

It is clear now that any man is infinitely more superior to a clam 
than any other man is superior to him! Think this over for a while. 

* One uninvited observer, a Dr. Carl Gassoway, claimed that the differential in 
Clarence's favor was due entirely to the inclusion of "ping-pong" in the test, which he 
said was unfair. This is destructive thinking. I think this man should be put away 




ConioTTnityy communication, and certainty are a triple 
threat to coipoiation man. Most large companies go out oi 
their way to stress that in their company conformity has been 
overcome; far irom it. Modern Office Procedures recently 
queried Eity-three companies. They found out that two 
types of conformity were found almost everywhere in greater 
or lesser degrees: 

There are two types of conformity, we found out. One is petty 
and annoying. The other is far more damaging. The first is a 
surface conformity that irritates good men hut doesnt curb 
initiative. It dictates how men dress, the part of town they live 
in, the size of their ofEce and how they're furnished, the kind 
of car they drive. 'This company forbids sports cars in manage- 
ment parking lots,' a department head said. But another com- 
pany man reported, 'if you want to advance here, you'd better 
drive a sports car.' In other companies men linger for a half hour 
or so after quitting time because, as one executive told us, 'we're 
expected to.' Practically every company has its own pet idiosyn- 
cracies. They gnaw at good men, but don't siphon off talent or 
initiative. None of the men we talked to said they'd left a com- 
pany because of them. 

But the attitude changed completely when our talks veered to 
the second type of conformity — the enforcing adherence to a 
company's customary, tradition-bound ways of viewing new 
ideas and ways. Good men rankle at the restrictions imposed on 

* From: Men Who Manage (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 
Inc.) 1959. 


274 Conformity 

them. They're the people companies can't aEoid to lose, hut in 
their ranks there's hitteiness, discouragement, and discontent. 

It is unlikely that this problem of corporate Hie will ever 
be satisfactorily resolved. But MeiviJIe DaJton oi the Institute 
of Industrial Relations at the University of California probes 
deeper than most in his famous hook. Men Who Manage. In 
the following selection^ he gives an unusually interesting 
evaluation of conformity today. 

Management Man: Some of His Problems 27S 


he individual is a product of groups. In his develop- 
ment from infancy, he conforms to major demands 
of his group, or seems to when he cannot. If he fails he is punished. 
Over the years he is shaped by conformity to ever mounting expecta- 
tions. As a responsible adult he continues to be punished for noncon- 
formity. In the role of say, production worker, he observes output 
standards, or is excluded as a ''rate-buster," an ostracism few can 
tolerate. As a staff functionary, he must either curb his ''free-wheeling'' 
impulses or reduce his career hopes. G. H. Mead makes the point that 
much human behavior is built up internally and covertly before it 
reaches overt expression, which it often does not. This is exploratory 
conformity which, when the individual learns that his fermenting 
actions will be unacceptable, enables him obligingly to seem to con- 
form. Obviously weariness with the battle, a limitation of every 
nervous system and habit structure, also forces a measure of con- 

Thus we need not be confirmed cynics to admit that much con- 
formity is purposeful — though some of it may be an end in itself. We 
profess to be individualists but find it wise to observe proprieties for 
the sake of reward. This is an ancient practice. To preserve order and 
ease of control in the sphere of government, for example, individual- 
istic monarchs from Antiochus IV through Augustus and Lorenzo the 
Magnificent have clothed their force by seeming conformity to demo- 
cratic processes. Maturing societies increasingly demand more con- 
formity and control of feelings as a mark of "good-breeding." Other 
pressures for another kind of conformity are tritely obvious when such 
societies are also, as with ours, assuming a larger and more dangerous 
role in world affairs. 

The spread of bureaucratic structures requires increasing con- 
formity. This pressure reaches its highest form where corps of special- 
ists are developed to uncover deviations and maintain records of merit 
and demerit. Here executives with festering egos demand superficial 
obeisance, if not a clear "yes." As all covertly battle for the enlarged 
package of honors and rewards that come at each higher level, seem- 
ing conformity is saintly and overt individualism is madness. 

116 Conioimity 


In the larger society conformity has become a medium of ex- 
change. Life demands that we be aware of neighbors with whom we 
are unhkely ever to be intimate because of the rapid events and super- 
ficial experiences in which we are all caught up. We know our mobile 
neighbors are different, but the distractions of our ''ersatz diversion 
and synthetic excitement'' keep us from knowing how different. In 
our touch-and-go life we necessarily base many of our actions on 
flimsy impressions. Denied full knowledge, our inconstant relations 
only spur us to wear a better disguise before those who are stranger 
than strangers. For even where relations have a pseudo-permanence, 
we find that many of those with whom we must live are intentionally 
elusive. Bound to them by an interest, and having to take positions 
toward things we cannot keep up with, we cooperate to support the 
front we share. We have no choice but to don a protective coloration 
as we dip and sample here and there. 

In earlier days, before transportation and communication de- 
vices shrank our physical world and enlarged our social universe, our 
organizations were different and our individualism more exposed. 
Today there are no means of pinning the personality down to one 
organization. Shifting and tangential society and organizations are 
increasingly based on front and prefigured defenses. The social facade 
covers name-changing, religion-changing and the hiding of one's past, 
which gears, as Stein noted, with the necessity in large organizations 
that status-givers reward in part on the basis of surmises about candi- 
dates.* Capability is measured more by fugitive impressions than by 
testing, because the essential survival abilities are often overlooked 
as aspirants prepare relevant impressions to fit the irrelevant criteria 
they must meet. 

To deal with the world, the organization must present an invit- 
ing exterior and a promise of superior execution. Swamped in doubts, 
the leader must have assurance of internal loyalty when he acts. Con- 
formity is one assurance he rewards. As T. H. Huxley noted in a 
famous letter to Herbert Spencer on the question of whether the re- 

* To my suggestion that he refine his personnel forms for recruitment of staff 
people, a West Coast executive declared that he had "no time to check on people, and 
besides they don't put down the facts. I don't mind people lying about their past — we 
all lie (looking at me challengingly). I just want them to be able to do what they 
say they can." 

Management Man: Some of His Pwhlems 277 

mains of unconventional George Eliot should rest in Westminster 
Abbey, 'Those who elect to be free in thought and deed must not 
hanker after the rewards . . . which the world offers to those who put 
up with its fetters." 

In today's vast systems of rationality the individual conforms as he 
evades their schemes of detection. Some members find room for per- 
sonal choice and ingenuity as they strain and thrill in meeting appear- 
ances. Others conform to avoid conflict and to maintain the de- 
manded tranquillity and uniformity which de Tocqueville saw as the 
passion of people and government alike in all democratic countries. 
Such conformity is especially characteristic of American middle class 
groups today. But many individual managers and workers do ''fight 
the organization" and there are ''individual dynamics" as we saw in 
the anonymous communications, deliberate misinterpretation of rules 
for personal, protective, and constructive reasons; the unoflScial use 
of materials and services to reward differential contributions, to ce- 
ment essential relations; the adaptation of labor contracts; and the 
"agreements between gentlemen," which allow each "to assume that 
the other is acting honorably even if he is morally certain that he is 

The typical firm is thus a shifting set of contained disruptions, 
powered and guided by differentially skilled and committed persons. 
Its unofficial aspects bulk large but are shrouded in a bureaucratic 
cloak. To satisfy our eternal urge toward consistency we may call this 
conformity hypocritical, but we must not hypocritically refuse to 
recognize its protective function for what it is and denounce as hypo- 
crites those executives who do. Conformity in this sense has a func- 
tion similar to the built-in but unconscious false appearances among 
other animals, which biologists call "protective mimicry." The indi- 
vidual in the large organization or mobile society, like the uncalculat- 
ing animals, is also a defenseless creature who calculatingly practices 
deception for safety's sake against the invisible threats around him.* 
Since only isolated fanatics spurn such protective coloration, most of 
those who attack the practice do so to camouflage their own interests. 

* These threats are too widely known and beheved to be entirely fanciful, and they 
have long had a function in systems of authority and responsibility. Over four centuries 
ago a diplomat-historian confidentially advised a practice that is more possible now 
than then: "When one in authority desires to chastise or revenge himself on an inferior, 
let him not act hastily, but await time and occasion. For if only he go warily, an 
opportunity will surely come when, without displaying rancour or passion, he may 
satisfy his desire either wholly or in part." Francesco Guicciardini, Ricordi, S. F. 
Vanni, New York, 1949. 




In the management woildf Harvey Swados' voice has not 
been well heard despite the Tinging clarity and beauty oi his 
writing. Author of the novel On The Line, a teacher at Sarah 
Lawrence College, Mr. Swados has some highly original com- 
ments to make upon our society. '7 am/' says Mr. Swados, 
"by profession a writer who has had occasion to work in 
factories in various times during the 30's, '40's and 'SO's." 
On the basis oi his own observations, Mr. Swados has 
attempted to explode the theory that ''we are almost all 
middle class as to income and expectation. Almost without 
exception/' continues Mr. Swados, "the men with whom I 
worked on the assembly line ielt like trapped animals. De- 
pending upon their age and circumstances, they were either 
resigned to their fate, iuriously angry at themselves ior what 
they were doing, or desperately hunting other work that 
would pay as well and in addition oifer some variety, some 
prospect oi change and betterment. They were sick oi being 
pushed around by harried ioremen (themselves more pitied 
than hated), sick oi working like blinkered donkeys, sick oi 
being dependent ior their livelihood on a maniacal produc- 
tion merchandising set-up, sick oi working in a place where 
there is no spot to relax in the twelve-minute rest period. 
(Some day — let us hope — we will marvel at production so 
worshiped in the '50's, that new factories could be built with 
every splendid iacility ior the storage and movement oi 

* From: On The Line (Boston: Little, Brown & Co.) 1957. 

280 Just One of the Boys 

essential parts, but there was no place for a resting worker to 
sit down ioT a moment hut on a iire plug, the edge oi a pack- 
ing case, or the sputum, oil-stained staiiway oi a toilet.)" 

Mr. Swados argues that the blue coJJar worker has not been 
raised to the level of the middle class, as sociologists would 
have it, but rather that Organization Man himself is perhaps 
being proletarianized. ''Perhaps it is not taking place quite 
in the way that Marx envisaged it, but the alienation of the 
white collar man (like that of the laborer) from both his tools 
and whatever he produces, the slavery that chains the ex- 
urbanite to the commuter timetable (as the worker is still 
chained to the time-clock), the anxiety that sends the white- 
collar man home with his briefcase for an evenings work (as 
it degrades the workingman into pleading for long hours of 
overtime), the displacement of the white-collar slum from 
the wrong side of the tracks to the suburbs (just as the 
working-class slum is moved from old-law tenements to 
skyscraper barracks) — all these mean to me that the white- 
collar man is entering (though his arms may be loaded with 
commodities) the grey world of the working man." 

That grey world of the working man is none the less drama- 
tized by Mr. Swados in dramatic black and white in the 
following story ''Just One of the Boys." Not only is Mr. 
Swados articulately aware of some of the major problems 
J facing the business world today, he is also keenly aware of 

those minute problems waged in the heart of a man to 
dictate how and why he does, or does not, accomplish a good 
. job on the job. The conEict of a worker who has been moved 
_ , out of the line to become a foreman is portrayed more 

vividly in "Just One of the Boys" than any other more "sci- 
entiEc" study of this world. 

Management Man; Some of His Piohkms 281 


ooking back on twenty-five years of factory life, Buster 
felt reasonably proud that he had always supported his 
wife and daughter decently, and had worked up to becoming a fore- 
man without acquiring the reputation of being either a climber or a 
schemer. He emphasized the soberness of his North German face in 
one way with a cigar, in another with the heavy-lensed eyeglasses that 
his increasing nearsightedness forced on him. When he thought how 
his once powerful father, crippled in an industrial accident, had 
wasted away uselessly in a wheel chair, a burden instead of a provider 
to his wife and children. Buster was inclined not so much to com- 
plain about having had to go to work at fourteen, as to be pleased with 
what he had achieved as an uneducated man. 

Buster had stuck it out on the auto assembly line as a spot welder 
for sixteen years, through the depression and most of the war; and 
when he put away his staff sergeant's uniform and came home from 
Louisiana, he claimed his seniority, no longer with any great expecta- 
tions but feeling that it was only prudent, especially with rising ex- 
penses and a daughter starting school. Within a year he became a 
foreman; from time to time he was shifted from one line to another, 
but always it was made clear that his good qualities were appreciated, 
and there were even hints of better things to come. 

Buster liked being a boss. ''Never mind that I wear clean clothes 
now," he said to his wife one day. He held out his heavy hands to her 
across the kitchen table. *'I worked for a long time and Fm willing to 
work again if I have to. What feels good is that Fm handling sixteen 
men because the company knows I know how to handle men. Not 
because Fm harder than the next man, or because I was against the 
union in the old days, or sucked around the bosses. The company 
knows where I stand and the men know where I stand." He could not 
keep from adding, 'There's not many foremen can say that." 

"I know, Carl," his wife replied. Her mind was on the hem of 
her daughter's dress that she was taking up. Lines were encircling 
Agnes's throat like necklaces and embedding themselves forever, and 
the truth was that she did not want him to be too satisfied. Before it 
was too late, she wanted him to move up again. 

282 Just One of the Boys 

Buster was willing to make the effort, just as he was willing to 
recognize that the little things that went with being a boss gave him 
as much pleasure as his improved status gave his wife. After nine years 
of it, he still liked coming to work in a dirty place with clean clothes 
on and knowing that he was not going to get them dirty. And every- 
thing that went with clean clothes. Not having to punch a time clock, 
but dropping in early instead to the body shop ofhce to sign in and sit 
around on a desk edge talking over production problems. Not having 
to eat out of a lunch box on the floor, or in the huge, prisonlike cafe- 
teria with its long tables sprayed with spat-out grape pits, tipped-over 
sugar bowls, wet bread crusts expanding in pools of coffee, and ciga- 
rette butts put out in Jello, but at one of the quiet, clean tables in the 
supervisors' wing of the cafeteria. Not having to change into overalls 
in the vaulted locker rooms smelling of tired men and tired feet, but 
hanging his hat and sport jacket in the foremen's private locker room. 

And of course the money. Just as it was better to be the man who 
handed out the sixteen pay checks than to be one of the sixteen who 
received them, it was better to know that the check given you privately 
was a salary, plus overtime that added up to a decent living. 

Naturally you paid a penalty. You were constantly nagged by 
every boss who stood above you; there was no recourse if they chose to 
knife you, and if you wanted the job bad enough you held still and let 
them stick it into you. But to Buster this was the way life was; and if 
you were any good at handling sixteen workers, you ought to be pretty 
fair at handling sixteen bosses. After all these years the top brass 
knew him as well as they knew anyone at his level, and they didn't 
often chew him out as long as he pulled production on his line. 

But then the company built an enormous new plant out in the 
sticks, and after the big move Buster found that his probems were 
not only multiplied but infinitely more complicated than he had ever 
thought possible. In the old factory they had been building cars for 
over a quarter of a century. Everyone knew where everything was; 
everybody knew everybody else — almost, anyway. 

Here, however, there was a solid year of trial and error, of sweat- 
ing and cursing and hiring and firing, of breakdown and repair, and 
even then production was not what it should have been; even then the 
big wheels rolled in from Michigan and struck terror into the heart of 
every boss in the building. 

The basic trouble, as Buster was not alone in seeing, was that 

Management Man: Some of His Piohlems 283 

there was no longer a solid core of men who were used to building 
cars, knew what was involved in sweat and labor, and wanted the jobs 
bad enough to turn up in fair weather or foul, on time and ready to 
work a full day plus as much overtime as would be needed to hit the 
production quota. Absenteeism was fantastic — you were sure of hav- 
ing enough men to keep the line rolling only on payday — and the turn- 
over was something unbelievable unless you stood there and watched 
the faces come and go, come and go, in such numbers that you had to 
give up trying to learn their names because most of them wouldn't 
stay long enough to make it worth while bothering. 

''As soon as you try to get them to see just beyond their noses," 
he complained to his wife, ''they take the attitude you're a company 
man. I pick up pieces of lead six and eight inches long that my solder 
flowers have thrown away because they can't be bothered flowing with 
a short stick, and I tell them the price of a hundred pounds of lead 
. . . and they laugh at me. I keep the sandpaper locked up according 
to instructions, and hand the boys out one piece at a time. They ask 
me why Vm so stingy, they ask me if I'm paying for it, and when I 
tell them that every single abrasive disc — the ones they toss around 
like kids with flying saucers — costs fifty cents, you know what they 
say?" He took a gulp of coffee. "They say. So what. You can't even 
get them to see that their jobs depend on keeping costs down. Even if 
you could, I don't think they'd care. 

"Believe me, what the company did when they moved was to 
saddle us foremen with more headaches than we ever had. We're sup- 
posed to pull more production than at the old plant with a bunch of 
guys that walk in not knowing one end of a screwdriver from the 
other, and are just as apt to walk out at the end of the day and never 
show up again." 

Agnes raised her eyes briefly from the stocking whose toe she was 
mending. She said mechanically, "It's a shame." 

"It's asking too much. You can't make a quality product with 
just a mob. That's all you've got is a mob, different faces every day." 
Buster put down his coffee cup with a clatter and took off his glasses 
to wipe off the steam that had arisen from it. "Damn it, sometimes I 
wish they'd never built the new plant. We were all better off before." 

Agnes smiled tolerantly. "Carl, you know that's silly. If it hadn't 
been for moving out to the country, we'd never have bought this nice 
house in a nice community, with Jeanie having a chance to meet re- 

284 Just One of the Boys 

fined boys and get away from the riffraff." She added hastily, ''And 
with you not having to go far to work. It's worth putting up with some 
inconveniences when you think of the progress weVe made just in 
this year alone. That's a sweet boy Jeanie's out with tonight, you 
know? A college boy." 

'Inconveniences. What a word for the headaches I've got." 
Buster stood up and opened his belt. "Going to bed, Aggie. Sorry I 
can't wait up with you, but I'm beat." 

For the first time, Agnes was stirred. She put down the stocking 
and raised her face for his kiss. "I feel bad for you, Carl. But it can't 
get worse, it has to get better. And if I was you I wouldn't let the 
company forget what I've been doing for them." 

Buster smiled grimly to himself on the way to work the next 
morning as he recalled his wife's naive bedtime comment. After all 
these years, she still didn't know the facts of life; it was lucky, he 
thought, that he'd taken her out of the beauty shop and insisted on 
her being a housewife. 

When his men started coming in, he gave them each a hello as 
they ambled up from the time clock, opened their toolboxes and put 
on their aprons. It was always his policy to say hello and good-by to 
his men no matter how grumpy he or they felt. He wanted them to 
like him and respect him, not to fear or mistrust him. There were a 
few who understood, he was sure — men like Harold, the drunken 
artist, and old Pop, the inspector who had been around for a thousand 
years, and probably Orrin, his one good metal finisher, who was doubt- 
less going to be made a boss one of these days; but they were a tiny 
minority. For the rest you had to keep the line going with men who — 
even if they grudgingly admired you — assumed that you were really 
there to make them sweat. 

"Here," he would say to a new man standing around with his 
file dangling from his hand, trying to look interested, "let me show 
you how to use that. Guide it with your left hand. Keep your thumb 
and forefinger spread across the back of the file, and then just let it 
glide back and forth, like this. Don't rub, don't grip too hard. You 
know why?" he would smile at the awkward, nervous man. "Because 
this file can wear you down quicker than it can wear down the metal. 
Take it slow, easy and steady, remember to guide it, not force it, and 
you'll do fine." 

The responses were varied, but Buster held to the patient ap- 

Management Man: Some oi His Problems 285 

proach, treating the newcomers, he explained, as he would have 
wanted to be treated himself. There were times when he lost his 
temper, mostly when the pressure was on and Hawks the body shop 
supervisor and some of the engineering wheels were standing around. 
Then he would yell and chew a man out for the work he'd left un- 
done or the job he'd botched. Usually, however, he tried to stick to 

''Now look at that," he would say sadly, pointing to a low spot 
on a job one of his men had walked away from. ''Would you buy that 

Or, when Hawks put the heat on him to have the men identify 
their work, he would pass among them with a box of chalk. "Don't 
make me tell you again," he would complain in as low a voice as pos- 
sible. "They want to know which jobs are which. If you don't put your 
initials on every job you do, you'll wind up with a reprimand." 

It seemed to him that the men on the line, even those who came 
and went like ghosts, must know that he was doing his best both to 
pull production and to cover for them, even when he screamed at 
them at the top of his lungs. 

"Buster is the best boss in the shop." He had heard it with his 
own ears; he knew the word got around, and he knew that it was true. 

He had constantly to be teaching these new men how to metal- 
finish, and as soon as one was well broken in, he would quit. That 
made no difference to the production men, who expected you to turn 
out forty units an hour if you had to do it singlehanded. And to top it 
off the job-study engineers began to make tests on his line. They tried 
having his metal finishers do every fourth job instead of every third, 
but do the entire side instead of only the rear quarterpanel. This freed 
the metal finishers who had been specializing in front doors for other 
work, but it left Buster holding a bagful of complaints from men who 
didn't like to work in the first place and now felt that they had been 
tricked and overburdened. All he could say was that experiments were 
being made to expedite the work, and that nobody was going to be 
asked to do more than he was capable of doing. But since most of the 
men were new and probationary employees, they could not bitch to 
the union. 

Buster did what he could. "I guess you don't believe it," he 
would say to a boy like Walter, who filed his heart out but still did 
miserable work, "but I used to work myself. Put in sixteen years be- 

286 Just One oi the Boys 

fore they made me a boss, so I know how the workingman feels. Here, 
let me show you that, if I can/' And as Walter wiped his sweaty fore- 
head on his sleeve, Buster took up the file, buried his arm in the trunk, 
and reached far forward to tap at the difficult dent, cheering the boy 
along as he showed him how to do it. ''I know exactly how it feels to 
have the damn things keep coming one after the other. Sometimes you 
wish the line would break down, right? What a wonderful feehng 
when you look back and see a great big gap in the line between the 
one you're finishing and the next one!" And he laughed to see the boy 
flush guiltily. 

But then the engineers decided to shake up yet another opera- 
tion. Two men put the cast-iron hooks and chains on the cars on 
Buster's line: one hooked up the front ends, the other the back, so 
that each car could be swung into the air at the end of the line and 
floated into the bonderizing booth to be rust-proofed. These two men 
also fitted on the lighter hooks on which the doors were hung for both 
station wagons and panel trucks. Since their work was heavy (the 
hooks and chains weighed about twenty pounds apiece) but so un- 
skilled that it would be learned in two minutes by anyone with two 
hands and a strong back, there was a tremendous turnover on the job. 
Already Buster had had a crazy Negro who sang at the top of his lungs, 
an Irishman just in from the old country, several big, sad, stupid men, 
and a number of crafty kids who didn't want to do heavy work, or 
any work at all if they could help it. The ones who quit, quit; from 
among the others Buster picked out those who seemed to have some 
sense and set them to work learning metal-finishing, which paid fifteen 
cents an hour more than the crude work they were doing. Always he 
knew, though, that the hook men were the easiest to replace. 

Now, however, the experts decided that the smaller hooks could 
be installed at the very beginning of the line by the man who gunned 
the door plates and had been clocked as having time to spare. This 
left only the big chains and hooks to be attached. It was the engineers' 
opinion that this could be done by one man instead of two if he 
would pick up one hook with each hand and mount the line between 
two jobs, doing first the back of one car, then the front of the car 
directly behind it on the line. 

They explained it to Buster before the day's siren blew, hitching 
up their belts beneath their white shirts and surrounding him aggres- 
sively, as if to shut off his complaints. 

Management Man; Some of His Piohlems 287 

He said formally, 'Those hooks get heavy/' 

''We've weighed them. They're well within the — '' 

'The point is that they get heavier as the day goes along. Espe- 
cially if you ask a man to climb up and down with one in each hand. 
They're used to resting them against the stomach. You can't do that if 
you have to pick up two at a time." 

"Let's try it/' the little time-and-motion man said with finality. 
He raised his voice as the starting siren went off. "Where's your hook 

"I haven't got any yet. They took them both off to work in the 
duck pond yesterday. Horton is going to bring me a couple replace- 
ments from the employment office in a little while. Any minute." 

They glanced at their stop watches. "We'll be back." 

Then Horton, the production man, five years younger than Bus- 
ter but five notches higher because he had an engineering degree and 
also. Buster was convinced, because he was a Mason like all the big 
wheels, came hustling up on his wiry bowlegs, towing along two new 
men, one old, one young. They stood at one side, new toolboxes in 
their hands, trying to look unconcerned as Horton spoke to Buster. 

"Here's your men. You're only supposed to have one on the 

"I know." 

"Use the young kid for it. He's stronger." 

Buster suppressed his anger. What kind of moron did Horton 
take him for? 

"Besides," Horton finished, "the old boy's experienced. You 
won't hardly have to break him in." He lifted his hand abruptly in 
farewell and took off, humming as he bummed a ride on a passing 
engineer's bike. 

Buster wheeled to examine the two men and discovered that the 
old boy, puffy and paunchy in his turned-up new dungarees, was star- 
ing at him with his head cocked to one side. He looked familiar. 

"Say," Buster said tentatively, "don't I — " 

"It's Frank, Buster. Frank's the name. I used to metal-finish 
when you were spot-welding, remember? It's been twenty years." 

"Well, I'll be damned." 

They shook hands. Clasping the older man's soft, tired hand, 
Buster found himself wondering why a man his age had to come back 

288 Just One of the Boys 

to work here after all these years. A little embarrassed, he said, ''Wel- 
come back." 

'Thanks. I see a lot of faces — " 

"Excuse me. The line's starting up, and IVe got to get this other 
fellow going on the hooks. Start filing on the doors with that guy in 
the railroad cap, will you?" Buster turned to the glum youngster, who 
looked as though his mother had sent him off to work against his 
will. "Okay, put your gloves on, fellow, and I'll show you what I want 
of you." 

He was a tall, doughy-faced Italian, with glittering black hair that 
he wore very long, completely covering the tops of his ears and meet- 
ing in back in what Buster had heard described as a duck's-ass haircut. 
His complexion was very white and bloodless, and the back of his neck 
above his shirt collar was pitted with deep, black-centered acne scars. 
Buster was a good Catholic and believed devoutly in not judging his 
fellow man by background or nationality, but he could not help think- 
ing that this one looked like those neighborhood gang-warriors that 
you read about in the magazines; it wouldn't be surprising if he carried 
a six-inch switch-blade knife. 

The boy observed Buster coldly, saying nothing, only muttering 
and nodding his head when Buster asked if he understood the work. 
After a few minutes the boy seemed to have caught on and Buster 
left him. He returned to Frank for a moment, faced with the problem 
of explaining that it would be impossible to stand around reminiscing 
about the old days. It was not easy to do this without playing the big 
shot or needlessly wounding an older man, and Buster found that he 
was starting to sweat. He told Frank to keep at it, to help him show 
the youngsters how you could work steady without killing yourself, 
and he moved on. 

The next time he had a chance to look over the line and see how 
things were going — it must have been an hour later — he saw the 
Italian boy all the way up the line near the platform, twenty feet past 
where he should have been working. He was running sweat, and his 
oiled hair was falling over his ears. As Buster approached, he jerked his 
head angrily. 

"How's it going?" Buster asked. 

"I ain't Superman, Mac," the boy snarled, as he flung an iron 
chain into the rear of a station wagon with a crash. 

"You can call me Buster. I'll help you get caught up." Buster 

Management Man: Some oi His Piohlems 289 

half-trotted back to the head-high stack of hooks and chains that sat 
on a dolly at the middle of the line. Grabbing two, he hastened back 
to where he had been and hopped up onto the line. Crisscrossing each 
other, he and the boy had soon worked their way back to the center 
of the line. 

'There you go/' Buster said. He glanced down at the figured 
cotton sport shirt that Agnes had given him for his birthday — it was 
scored with red primer and dotted at the chest with droplets of sweat 
that had soaked through his undershirt. ''Let's try to keep caught up, 

"Christ/' the boy said, and unloosed a torrent of obscene abuse 
on the factory and the entire auto industry. "I come in here to make a 
living, not to kill myself." 

If the boy had looked and talked a bit differently, Buster would 
not only have sympathized with him, but would have tried to do 
something to lighten his load. As it was, he felt that the boy was 
swearing at him but didn't have the courage to do it directly. In the 
circumstances it was impossible to explain to the boy that he was 
being used as a guinea pig. 

"Do the best you can," he said coldly. "You're entitled to twelve 
minutes' rest period before lunch. I'll check with the relief man to 
make sure you get your break." 

"If I live that long," the boy replied. 

Buster turned his back on him and sought out the relief man, who 
was doing Orrin's work. 

"When Orrin comes back," he said, "get the new kid that's on 
the hooks. I don't want him griping that he didn't get his relief." 

"When! When! How do I know when?" cried the relief man 
angrily. "Orrin cut his hand, he went to the hospital. He may be gone 
an hour. You want me to walk off his job here to make that kid 

"Don't talk foolish. Stick with it, I'll see what I can do." 

"You better not worry about the kid," the relief man warned as 
he bent to his work. "Better worry about all the guys that'll be on 
your neck for their relief if Orrin doesn't get back soon." 

What the line needed, of course, was a utility man in addition to 
a relief man for just such situations, a good all-around man who could 
be slipped into any vacant slot in case of emergency. But the wheels 
wouldn't authorize the extra name on the payroll; they insisted that it 

290 Just One of the Boys 

was part of Buster's job to train up his men to cut down on accidents 
and minimize emergency situations. 

Buster would just as soon have pitched in and given his men 
their rehef himself, but it was against the union contract for a boss to 
touch a tool. He was uneasily aware that somebody with a grudge 
might be small enough to turn him in for working, even though he was 
getting a relief that he would not otherwise have had. Or maybe Lou 
the union committeeman would come by and cite him for the viola- 
tion. Lou was looking for an excuse to demand the hiring of a utility 
man and make himself a big shot for the next election. 

Buster decided to circulate among his men. ''We're in a jam/' 
he said. ''Orrin's stuck in the hospital and I don't think you're going 
to get any relief this morning." 

''No relief!" one shouted. "With them running forty-five jobs an 
hour at us! What the hell's going on here? If nobody's going to get 
his relief, shut the line down for twelve minutes and we'll all take it 

"Let's be reasonable. You know I can't do anything like that. 
I'll see that you make it up. Maybe after lunch." 

His men were not only working at a hard, steady pace themselves, 
but whenever they had a chance they lent a hand to the new man, 
handing him hooks and chains from the pile, sometimes doing a job 

One of them complained bitterly, "That new kid can't keep up 
doing a two-man job, not with the line going this fast. Not even with 
our help." 

It was true. The boy was sweating furiously, trotting, lifting, 
cursing steadily. One of the tails of his gaudy shirt had worked up in 
back and hung free over his trousers, which were. Buster now noticed, 
an old pair of dress pants cut in zoot style, billowing at the thigh and 
so tight at the cuff that his ankles seemed bound with bicycle clips. 
For some reason these draggy pants, which would have been at home 
in a candy store or a cheap saloon, not here where men were busy 
working hard, infuriated Buster. Still, he knew that he was being un- 
fair, and he stepped back out into the aisle to see if he could spot the 
two engineers. Once they saw that they had miscalculated, he would 
be able to ask for another man. 

But they were nowhere in sight. Naturally. He swore to himself 

Management Man: Some of His Piohlems 291 

and hurried back to the boy, who raised his head and yelled. ''This 
isn't work, it's slavery!" 

Two of the men on the line looked up and laughed. There was 
no question about whose side they were on, and it made Buster feel as 
though in some subtle, indefinable way they were betraying him by 
siding with such a punk. 

Nevertheless, he grasped one of the elephant-tusk hooks and was 
preparing to help the boy to catch up once again when he heard his 
name being called. He looked up and saw Hawks standing fifty feet 
ahead, one hand hooked in the fancy woven belt which he claimed a 
lady friend had given him, the other hand waving imperiously for Bus- 
ter to hurry. Above his brilliant tie of stars, planets, and asteroids 
whirling dizzily against the white universe of his shirt, his mournful, 
hangdog face was set for unpleasantness. 

Another one of those Masons, Buster thought angrily as he 
stomped toward him. With no preamble the supervisor swung out 
his ringed hand and rapped it sharply against the taillight hole of a 
car swaying in the air between him and Buster. 

''Let's tighten up a little, what do you say," he said. "See if you 
can get your boys to understand that we've got to meet competition. 
Jobs like this one here can't go through." 

It was true. There was an unchalked dent down low, below the 
taillight; but since it had slipped by Pop the inspector it was under- 
standable that it should have been missed. Buster looked at the front 
of the job: it bore Orrin's initials. He put two fingers to his mouth 
and whistled up the relief man who was doing Orrin's work. 

With deliberate slowness the relief man straightened up from 
his job and slouched forward to meet him. "Listen, Buster," he said 
flatly, ignoring the supervisor, who did not move but simply turned 
his back on them, "they're coming fast, and I got a lot of work. Can't 
your pick-up men take care of the little things we miss?" 

"This isn't little." Buster pointed to the dent with his cigar. 
"You ought to know better than to let a job like this go by. You're 
getting a dime an hour extra for being a relief man. You want to keep 
on getting that dime, you better do the work right. Come on, clean 
it up and get back to your place." 

The relief man flashed him a look of pure hatred. But he said 
nothing, instead dropped to one knee, inserted his arm with the file 
inside the taillight hole, and began to rap rhythmically at the dent. 

292 Just One of the Boys 

Buster stood watching him for a moment. He could think of nothing 
to say that would take the sting out of what he had just said, and so 
at last he turned to Hawks. 

'I'm shorthanded today/' he said to the supervisor, "and they're 
trying to make the hooks a one-man job, and — " 

''Shorthanded? Didn't they give you two new men? I saw the 
schedule sheet myself." 

"Yes, but one is going to metal-finish. He's too old for the hooks 
anyway, and the other one is breaking his hump. He just can't keep 


"I know you like to stick up for your men." Hawks pulled a 
pendulous earlobe and stared at him sadly. 'That's fine. Now try stick- 
ing up for me a little. I've got to turn out three hundred and fifty units 
before the night shift comes on. Think about that. Next time you see 
Horton, givQ him your complaint." 

Thus dismissed. Buster returned to the line, grabbed a hook, and 
hopped up to give the new boy a hand. 

The boy was a mess. He had not put on an apron, and his front 
was splotched with red primer dust. His face was blotched with red, 
and with hatred and self-pity, and he muttered to himself unceasingly 
as he strove. My God, Buster thought, a crazy colored singer, a 
crazy Irish schoolteacher, a dozen assorted morons, and now a teen-age 

"Tell you something," he said to the boy as they stood back to 
back on the moving line, working together. "I know what it is to work. 
Don't think I don't sympathize with you. I used to work. I worked for 
sixteen years before they made me a boss. And I had plenty of rough 
days like you're having now. It's all part of the game." 

"Sixteen years," the boy sneered incredulously. "You must have 
been some quick thinker." 

Buster clamped his jaws shut tight. He jumped off the line and 
lifted up another hook. Panting a little now, he said, "Jobs weren't 
as easy to come by in those days as they are now. If you made a living 
you were grateful, and you hung on." 

"Times have changed." 

"They sure have," Buster said. "But I haven't. I started working 
when I was fourteen, and I worked too long and too hard to forget 
what it's like. That's why I feel I'm still just one of the boys in spite 
of the fact that I've been a boss for nine years." 

Management Man: Some of His Piohhms 293 

''Who did you get to know after those sixteen years?'' the boy 
asked insolently. "Or did you just wait for somebody to die off?'' 

Buster bit hard on his cigar. 'Tou want to get anyplace in this 
world/' he said coldly, 'you better learn to smarten up." 

The boy laughed as he flung back his long black hair. "I was 
born smarter/' he replied, "than some of the characters around this 

Shortly after that, the man gunning the door plates ran out of 
screws; then an air hose broke and whirled lethally through the air, 
hissing and twirling madly like a crazed snake; one thing followed 
another, and Buster had no more chance to help the new boy. Once 
he glanced up and saw that although the boy was again so far behind 
that he was running from one end of the fast-moving line to the 
other, staggering under the weight of the hooks he carried, the other 
men, furious at being cheated out of their relief and at the way the 
boy was being treated, were giving him a hand whenever they could 
spare a few seconds. Finally Orrin came back from the hospital, and 
the relief man was freed to give some rest to at least a few of the men. 

When the siren blew for lunch. Buster had no appetite. He 
bought a bowl of stew and a cup of coffee and sat down at his cus- 
tomary place with the foreman from the grinding booth and Halstein, 
boss inspector. 

The grinding booth foreman looked at him sympathetically. 
"Tough day today. Buster?" he demanded between gulps of soup. 

Buster opened his mouth to tell them and then thought better 
of it. He crumbled a cracker into the stew and shrugged. "The usual." 

Then Halstein, who Buster suspected stood in well with the 
Masonic clique, started to talk about a three-dimensional kite his boy 
had built, and Buster hardly listened. His eyes were searching for the 
little time-study man, who slipped in and out of the cafeteria like a 
ghost. At last Buster spotted him, two minutes before they had to 
return. He hastened over to him. 

"You fellows changed that operation into a one-man deal on my 
line," he said quickly, "but you never came around to check on it." 

"Tied up," the little engineer said tersely. 

"Now look, it's just too much for one man. I'm short-handed as 
it is. I told you before — " 

"We'll get to you this afternoon. Keep your shirt on." 

How could Agnes or anyone on the outside know how it was to 

294 Just One of the Boys 

be caught in the middle between zoot-suiters and college hot shots? 
Sometimes, he thought, the advantages didn't outweigh the head- 
aches, not at all; and he could understand the men who had turned 
down chances to be made foremen, or who had given up foremen's 
jobs and returned to production, where they were covered by the 
union and had no such worries, or had transferred into plant protection, 
where all they had to do was wear uniforms and look important. At 
his desk he lit a fresh cigar and, as the line started to roll once again, 
busied himself with the attendance sheets that had to be cleaned up. 
He had been at it for perhaps ten minutes and was just about finished 
when something, some instinctive feeling that all was not right, made 
him swivel about and stare. 

For a moment everything looked normal. The line was going at 
a fairly fast clip and his men, their stomachs full, were working hard 
and steady. Then he realized what was wrong. None of the cars, not 
one of them, had any hooks on it — and the new boy was nowhere 
in sight. 

His heart hammering. Buster leaped forward and took the nearest 
man by the arm. 

''Where's that hook man? The new one?" 

The metal finisher had an odd glint in his eye. *'l haven't seen 
him since lunch." 

''Why didn't you tell me?" Then seeing the man's face stiffen, 
"Never mind. Run down there and tell the relief man to come up 

Without waiting. Buster grabbed two hooks and hurled them 
onto the station wagons before which he had been standing. If he did 
not get caught up within a very few minutes, the cars reaching the 
head of the line without hooks would not be able to swing off; they 
would pile up, and the entire line would have to be stopped. And it 
was on his neck. 

Blindly, cursing the missing boy. Buster flung himself at the 
hooks and fastened them to the cars, bending over double in his haste. 
The blood rushed to his head and the vein in his left temple began to 
pound. He finished two jobs and ran headlong back to the stack of 
hooks for two more, his key ring falling from his pocket as he ran. 

"What's on your mind. Buster?" the relief man asked him coolly. 

Without pausing. Buster said over his shoulder, "Take over for 
me, will you, until I can find that son of a — " 

Management Man: Some oi His Piohlems 295 

'Tm not going to hang hooks all afternoon. Fm not paid for that. 
Vm not even supposed to relieve the hook man and you know it." 

"It's not for all day. Just till that guy turns up.'' 

"I doubt that he will. Somebody heard him say he was pulling 


''Sorry, Buster." The relief man's small eyes glittered maliciously. 
''Most of your men got no relief this morning. I can't gyp them out 
of it this afternoon too just because this kid took off." He sauntered 

Buster did not dare to stop to hunt for help. As he passed another 
of his men kneeling with his file, he cried out, "Where's the new 

And this man, too, grinned. "I hear he didn't even punch out. 
Just hit the road." 

Trying to keep from growing panicky. Buster clambered stiffly 
onto the line with the two hooks and tried to consider how he could 
get word to supervision that he needed help quickly. A glance up and 
down showed no one in sight. His own men looked as though they 
could hardly keep their faces straight. 

"I wouldn't mind," he said to the man kneeling below him, "if 
he'd only told me." He tried to keep his voice casual. "It's a free 
country. Nobody can make you work if you don't want to. But to 
sneak out without letting anybody know . . ." 

"It just shows you," the crouching man yelled up at him. "Even 
a crummy job like that, a job nobody wants and any dope can do, you 
got to treat a man right to do it right or you can't build cars." 

"You're not telling me anything I don't know," Buster cried 
angrily, as he straightened his back and scrambled off the line. "All I 
ask is my men play square with me like I try to play square with — " 

At that instant a booming crash rang out over all the other noises 
of the body shop. Everyone looked up at once, bewildered. The crash 
was followed by a horrible sound of rending metal. Then Buster knew 
what had happened. He was petrified inside with the positive knowl- 
edge that more was to follow; his tongue was frozen into silence; but 
his body continued to move automatically. Yes, it came again, another 
crash like the first, followed by more rhythmic thuds, until everyone 
on the line realized what was happening. 

The Italian boy had taken his vengeance before running away. 

296 Just One oi the Boys 

He had attached the hooks and chains of his last few jobs lopsidedly, 
in some cases only fastening one side^ so that now^ an hour after he 
had escaped, the cars tilted as they entered the narrow bonderizing 
booth, and, hanging off balance, crashed back and forth, back and 
forth, against the sides of the booth, metal smashing against metal as 
the cars were systematically pounded out of shape. 

When the third car had begun to rocket back and forth in the 
booth, Buster, the sweat streaming down his cheeks, saw Hawks and 
Horton and two other white-shirted executives from quality control 
running down the aisle and clambering up the catwalk to the little 
metal door in the center of the bonderizing booth. Then a battery- 
powered scooter rolled up and the assistant plant superintendent 
hopped off, followed by three overalled maintenance men. Now it 
was too late, the reinforcements had arrived. 

Up and down the line his men, looking like strangers, were openly 
grinning. With every booming thud, every tearing sound, their grins 
grew wider. They didn't care that hundreds of dollars in time and 
labor were going down the drain; it amused them. They didn't care 
that the smashed hulks would have to be hauled out of the booth and 
dragged to a corner; they were already calculating the overtime they 
would earn repairing these wrecks. They didn't care that he was still 
hanging hooks, with the weight of them starting to stab in his groin, 
unable to summon help from the bosses, who now had something 
more important to keep them occupied. They thought he had it 
coming, and Buster, his heart wrenched in his chest, stared at their 
grinning faces and wondered how it could be that people who worked 
together could have so little human feeling. Don't they know I 
couldn't help it? he asked himself. 

*'Hey, Buster!" one of them called out. ''Some symphony, eh?" 

''Laugh," he replied grimly. "We may all get laid off for this." 

"Say, Buster — how does it feel to work like a dog? Does it take 
you back to the old days? The good old days?" 

Tossing a heavy hook contemptuously into the rear of a station 
wagon, he faced them out and said coolly, around. his cigar, "I've 
worked harder, in my time. I never asked one man, never in my life, 
to do a job I wouldn't do." 

The cigar tasted rancid in his gummy mouth, but it was a visible 
proof that he had not capitulated, that he was simply handling a 
passing crisis; so he refused to throw it away, or even to take it out of 

Management Man: Some of His Piohkms 297 

his mouth while he worked. But he could not prevent the sweat from 
pouring down his body, from forming huge, dark, telltale moons 
under the armpits of his sport shirt, from plastering the front of the 
shirt to his chest, from soaking through his slacks at the base of his 
spine, from dripping down his forehead onto the rims of his glasses, 
smudging and steaming the lenses. 

He hated to do it, but, half-blinded by his own sweat, he had to 
take off the glasses and stuff them into his shirt pocket. In a way it 
was worse than giving up the cigar would have been. Without the 
glasses he felt naked and exposed, and he knew that his face took on 
a stupid, blinking expression when his nearsighted eyes tried to adjust 
themselves to an uncorrected world. 

On one of the passing panel trucks someone had scrawled in 
huge letters, no doubt with the chalk that he himself had handed out, 


'1 bet you'll sleep good tonight, eh, Buster?" somebody asked 
as he hurried off the line to lift up a hook. 

''A little hard work never killed anybody," he muttered around 
his dead cigar. But his groin was tight as a drumhead, and every step 
counted off every month of his forty-five years. 

''Wait'll we get the union after you. Buster!" someone called out. 

He whirled about but could not see who had said it; they all had 
their heads down. There wasn't one of them would complain to their 
committeeman, not because they feared reprisals, but because this 
show was too good to put an end to. 

Oh, they'd have something to talk about all the way home, and 
even after they got home — how the boss had been humiliated and 
made to work like a dog. 

I'm through, he said to himself; I'll turn in my time and ask for 
a transfer; I can make my living without having to take this. Glancing 
down at the red primer dust which covered him, he could already 
hear his wife's voice added to all the rest. 

''Kind of rough, hey. Buster?" It was Orrin, the only man on 
the line with a perfect attendance record; the only one who really 
liked hard work and hard pressure. 'They won't hold you responsible. 
It wasn't your fault that young jerk ducked out." 

Buster mumbled a reply. He was unsure whether these first words 
of sympathy he'd had all day were sincere or whether Orrin, having 
gotten wind of his possible promotion, was starting to suck around. 

298 Just One of the Boys 

Old Frank, who had been doing a great job of making himself 
inconspicuous, now sidled up to him, encouraged maybe by what 
Orrin had just said. He cleared his throat and spat into the lead 

''Say listen, Buster,'' he said gruffly, ''can I spell you on that job? 
Vm not doing too much metal-finishing." 

"That's all right, Frank. Just stick at what you're doing, I want 
you to get the feel of it again." 

"But I'll tell you frankly, I didn't think I'd get back in here at 
my age, and I'd like to show my appreciation, so if you'd let me — " 

"No, no, that's all right, thanks. You get days like this, and you 
just have to learn to live with them." 

Fortunately at that moment Horton and the quality-control man 
came over from the bonderizing booth, and Frank had to do a fade- 
out. They seemed to think the scene was pretty funny, too, and they 
stood there, grinning, watching him sweat. 

"You certainly must have browbeat that kid to make him walk 
out after four hours," Horton said. "Man, what a slave driver." 

"I understand Accounting is going to bill you for the prorated 
extra labor cost on those four banged-up jobs," the quality-control 
man said. 

"Very funny," Buster snarled. "Are you going to get me a man 
for this job or not?" 

The quality-control man turned to Horton. "Didn't you hear 
them say Buster was going to have to work it off until he'd made up 
for his sins?" 

"All right, all right," Horton said, smiling at his Masonic buddy, 
then turning to Buster. "Come on down off that line, they're getting 
you a replacement. You look like hell if I may say so, like Before in 
the Before and After ads." 

It was true. Buster stared at himself in the washroom mirror when 
he had gone in to clean up for a minute, after they'd provided him 
with another man to finish out the day. He looked like Before, but 
he felt like After, long After. And what would you do if you threw it 
over? Who could you tell to go to hell? Yourself? That nameless herd 
who came and went like stockyard cattle? That clique of Masons who 
boosted each other and each other's relatives into all the key jobs, and 
would maybe one day make him an assistant supervisor, or a foreman 

Management Man: Some of His Problems 299 

over the body shop foremen, just to satisfy the Michigan crowd that 
they were bringing up men from the ranks? 

When the day was over at last, he sat down for a while in the 
body shop office and went over with Hawks and several others the 
series of events that had been so costly to him and to production, but 
wouldn't even rate a footnote in the history of the corporation. They 
gave him to understand that it was a closed issue, dead and forgotten, 
if he would see to it in the future that such things wouldn't happen 

Weary and pensive, he got in his car and crawled home to the 
new development where his house stood on an artificially winding 
black-top road, in the middle of what had been a potato field two 
years before. As he coasted up the driveway he caught sight of his 
wife outside the kitchen door, hanging the laundry on the aluminum 
and nylon-cord dryer that he'd mounted in concrete for her, a 
temporary expedient which would have to be replaced one day soon 
by an automatic dryer. 

She looked pretty, her arms raised against the twilight, her shy 
lips puckered with clothespins, her skirt whipping free — younger and 
slimmer than she really was. She waved at him, and he waved back, 
but he was too tired to talk or to kiss her, and he went directly into 
the house and drew himself a tub. 

Flat on his back with the water still bubbling at his ankles, he 
found himself thinking of old Frank. That was probably the most 
important thing that had happened during the day — Frank's showing 
up after twenty years, ready and willing to take up a job that wasn't 
good enough for that teen-age gangster. But when Agnes asked him 
— as she would — what had happened at the shop, he wasn't going to 
be able to tell her about Frank. She would say that it was a shame, a 
man of fifty-six having to start in all over, and of course that was true; 
she would wonder what had happened after all these years to make 
him come back to the shop, and that was something to wonder about, 
it was true; but she would also end by gloating a little and by pointing 
out the contrast and the fact that Buster might still move up yet 
another notch or two if his luck held. And that he wasn't ready to say 
at all. 

Because no one could know; there were things you couldn't say 
and things you shouldn't say; and maybe at that moment when Frank 
had offered to help out he was in a stronger position than Buster 

300 Just One of the Boys 

himself . . . even though it was also true that the very sight of him 
with his old belly and his new work pants was enough to drive out of 
Buster's mind any serious thought of giving up his foreman's job. 

He sighed, and heard his wife's voice outside the door, above 
the running water: ''Everything all right, Carl?" 


''Have a hard day?" 

"I had a lousy day." 

"What? What did you say?" 

He turned up the water and splashed a bit so as not to have to 
answer, and his wife went on. "We've got to talk about that summer 
bungalow before Jeanie gets home, because I've got to mail in the 
deposit tonight. I've been thinking — can you hear me, Carl? — it might 
be worth while to invest in one in a better location where there's a 
better class of boys. I know you've got your heart set on that boat, but 
maybe if we took the boat money and put it toward the bungalow, it 
would pay off as far as Jeanie's concerned, and maybe next summer 
if you get a promotion we can think about that boat again . . ." 

He closed his eyes, took his nose by thumb and forefinger, and 
eased himself under the circling water. When he came up his wife 
had stopped talking, and he stepped from the tub, cleaner at least, 
to prepare himself for dinner and the evening. 




Management man weaned on the initiah oi the depiession 
oi the thirties still maintains an abiding love ioi big capital 
letters. They seem to present to him symbols oi authority 
that words themselves sometimes lack. Time magazine re- 
cently squandered its capital in one Glorious Sentence: 'The 
Organization Man in the Lonely Crowd that makes up the 
Affluent Society is also known, among some religious writers, 
under another capital-lettered phrase: he is Post-Christian 

Management hie has now come up with a set oi initials 
that are meant to shake up not the economics oi manage- 
ment Hie, but the very psyche oi management man himseli. 
The initials are STG, and they stand for the Sensitivity Train- 
ing Group — a workshop method in which it is hoped that 
the executive can further understand himseli by an unusually 
inept eiiort at amateur group psychotherapy. 

Sensitivity Training was started ten years ago in the 
National Training Laboratory and Group Development in 
Bethel, Maine. There they became known as ''Bethel Baths," 
an appropriate enough name for the desire to soap a neurosis 
in public. The name has changed as different companies have 
undertaken experimental groups. T-Group Training, Labo- 


From: Personality Factors in Work and Employment, origi- 
nally published by Funks and Wagnalls, 1955. 


302 The Search for Certainty 

latory Training, and Diagnostic Skill Tiainingy and such 
workshops have been undertaken, by such diverse companies 
as Western Electric, Standard Oil of New Jersey, and Inter- 
national Business Machine. 

The search for certainty in management life is all pervasive. 
It takes the form, as we have discovered, of a uniform of 
dress, a type of car, even what one reads, and what one does 
not read. Unfortunately, we cannot he nearly so definite 
about what we feel. We cannot catalogue, ignore, or deny 
our feelings without causing pain to ourselves, our families, 
our organization, and our society. The answer is, of course, 
not to deny our feelings hut to understand them. There are 
no easy initials that we can use as trafhc guides for our 

Management man has always had an enormous respect for 
professionalism, hut when it comes to understanding emo- 
tions, they are far more likely to resort to amateur work- 
manship. For a society that can handle the most complex 
computor with pride and achievement, we handle the crowded 
highway of human emotions with slipshod control. Elton 
Mayo and Mary Parker FoUet gave early insight into the 
emotional make-up of industrial life hut few professional 
psychoanalysts have recently mapped that crowded highway 
of management life. Geraldine Pederson-Krag, M.D., in her 
pioneer hook, Personality Factors in Work and Employment, 
has explored all facets of management man on the joh. For 
over two decades she has worked in industry with such 
diverse companies as General Electric, American Brake Shoe, 
and New York States Department of Labor; she has also had 
experience with industrial toxicology, as well as a wide- 
ranging interest in how psychoanalysis can benefit industry, 
by bencEting the men and women who make up an industrial 

In "The Search for Certainty in Industry" that follows. 
Dr. Pederson-Krag reveals the feelings and emotions that 
monitor executive decision. 

Suppose we do face our own shortcomings and asocial 
impulses, will we then End certainty in our uncertain busi- 
ness lives? ■ 

Management Man; Some oi His Piohlems 303 

"I think well work more efficiently/' answers Dr. Pedeison- 
Krag, ' Ve will have less labor difRculty and fewer projects that 
come to nothing because they are not the response to realistic 
needs as much as they are the expression of unrecognized 
wishes in inEuential individuals. But Heaven iorhid we End 
certainty. It is by taking risks we make proRts and grow. And 
it's risk taking, the constant adjustment oi our actions and 
our outlook to unpredictable variations in the environment^ 
that keeps us £t. 

''Actually the field of uncertainty in business has narrowed 
during the centuries. We no longer have the enormous differ- 
ences in the product that occurred when it was hand made, 
and the hazards of bringing our goods across oceans. No 
more long dangerous trips to China — the last adventure is in 
excursions into the hidden thoughts and wishes of the man 
who works besides us." 

Management Man: Some of His PiohJems SOS 

± if 

his is the original plant lay-out that we had to mod- 
ify/' said the production manager. Before him stood 
a model of the extension of his factory where precision instruments 
were made in mass. In exquisite detail it showed the structure of the 
building, windows, power lines, conveyor belt, presses, and the plating 
department where the product was given its high glossy finish. 

'1 can't see a thing wrong with this,'' said the vice president for 
manufacturing. "Looks fine to me. Ventilation is good, lighting is 
good. You couldn't have used your space better. And you've put all 
the buffing, the dusty part of the job, in one place so you can use one 
set of ducts and exhausts to clear the air. That saves you money. I 
wouldn't redesign this — I'd congratulate the man who worked it out. 
He must be pretty good." 

'Tretty good! He's tops," said the production manager. ''One of 
the best in his engineering school and the first man in a postgraduate 
course in factory planning. One reason why he's good is because he 
doesn't think himself too smart to take the advice of a man with 
another kind of training. It was a foreman who showed us where the 
weak place was." 

''He did? What did the foreman object to?" 

"This." The production manager's finger was on the part of the 
model that represented the buffing section. "And I'll tell you why. 
Before chrome plating, as you know, about half our parts are buffed 
on a big automatic machine. The other half are done by hand on 
smaller and less efficient buffing lathes. And our planning engineer 
put the automatic buffing machine operators and the hand buffers in 
the same room." 

"Sounds logical." 

"It was logical. I tell you, he's a good man. Look at this sketch 
of the way he planned the shop. Here are the hand-buffing lathes. 
The kind we are using now has a cloth wheel each side of the motor 
that spins them. Two fellows can work on one at once, holding the 
parts to be buffed against their wheels. It doesn't call for much 
experience. That's where our new men start. 

"And here's one of the new automatic buffing machines. I don't 

306 The Search for Ceitainty 

believe youVe seen it, have you? There is this table, about ten feet 
in diameter, that turns round under a dozen large buffing wheels. 
Over here to the left is where the operator places the parts near the 
edge of the table so that by the time they have been carried around 
under the wheels and back to him to unload, they are all completely 

'1 suppose the hand buffers resent the fact that the automatic- 
machine operators make so much more money, because they produce 

''Not exactly. Certainly the piece rates are set so that the 
automatic-machine operators make considerably more than the hand 
buffers do, but this is because so much more experience is necessary. 
A man who adjusts and tends the big machine has one of the dirtiest 
and one of the noisiest and yet one of the highest-paying jobs in the 
plant. It takes skill and the other men respect him for it." 

''Well, what is the trouble then?" the vice president asked. 

"Well, actually it is the dirt. We provide showers just for the 
polishing and buffing crews, and the hand buffers are given fifteen 
minutes of company time to clean up their work places and to change 
their clothes and wash themselves. But the automatic machine is so 
much bigger and so much dirtier that we have to allow the operator 
to stop it not fifteen but thirty-five minutes before the end of the 
shift. When he did this, in the old buffing room, there was a sudden 
drop in the racket, almost quietness by comparison. The operator who 
was most looked up to was no longer on the job. Do you think the 
other fellows on the little machines could go on? It felt like quitting 
time to them too. They all found reasons to change their wheels or 
adjust their machines and to mess about instead of keeping on until 
it was time for them to clean up also." 

"What did you do?" the vice president asked. "Have the foreman 
speak to them about it?" 

"We did, but it almost caused a strike. So the foreman talked to 
our planning engineer and he put all the hand buffers together, over 
here to the right in this model, and he put up partitions between them 
and the automatic machines." 

"And that worked?" 

"That worked. Now the hand buffers go right on till fifteen 
minutes before the whistle blows as they are supposed to. Then they 
stop and clean and shower. So the new plan has given us twenty 

Management Man: Some of His Piohlems 307 

minutes more work per man per shift," said the production manager. 

The vice president gazed thoughtfully at the model. 

'It's ironic, isn't it," he said, ''all the mathematics and the physics 
and the engineering and the experience and the ingenuity and the 
perseverence — all those things that your brilliant planning engineer 
put into this design — and yet the lay-out was not really efficient until 
he took into consideration the simple human fact that men tend to 
follow a leader especially if the leader seems to be getting a better 
break than they are." 

"I don't think human facts are so simple," the production man- 
ager replied. "The hand buffers are grown up; they can think inde- 
pendently. Why should they copy someone else like a lot of sheep? 
They're doing piecework. Why don't they want to go on earning 
money as long as they can? Why can't we have some certainty about 
the way people will behave?" 

"We're not the only ones who have been misled by the assump- 
tion that the workers are only interested or motivated by what they 
can earn," the vice president said. "It can happen on a much larger 
and more expensive scale. Fm talking about making extremely large 
pieces of apparatus in another company. At one time, they tell me, 
the machining of some of the parts was done on a job-shop basis, 
where a large group of machinists had a relatively independent work- 
place, fenced off from the rest of the building. The parts came to 
them in batches, and this group took considerable pride in turning 
out the finish-machined lots. These were their own product. 

"Well, this management felt it would be worthwhile to spend 
several millions to put up a new building where all the operations 
could be done under one roof. They arranged for a continuous flow of 
higher production types of parts. This decreased in-process inventory 
and lowered handling costs and reduced machine set-up charges. So 
most of the equipment and men from the separate shop were placed 
on the big floor with conveyors bringing their work to them and 
carrying it away. Very efficient. These men were put on piecework or 
incentive pay and so they got considerably more take-home money 
than before. Only a few machinists were to be left in a little caged-in 
shop to do the special orders or the odd designs which didn't lend 
themselves to the higher production equipment and handling. But 
these men were working on 'day rate' or straight hourly pay rather 
than incentive and their earnings were less. 

308 The Seaich ioi Ceitainty 

''When the scheme was put into effect, management found that 
almost every last machinist wanted to be placed in the lower-paying 
job-shop in the caged-in area. They all felt that their team would be 
broken up and that they would completely lose their indentity when 
they left their special-purpose shop to work on the open floor with 
men of other trades. I can't altogether blame them, seeing how 
enormous the new shop is." 

''We can see what's affecting the workers in the buffing shops 
and in this large machine plant/' said the production manager, "be- 
cause of the structural changes. But how many other times can we 
recognize when an operation is inefficient because of some human 

"Why should we be expected to recognize anything so un- 
predictable?" the vice president replied. "We were brought up to 
deal only with certainties. In engineering and business schools, we 
were taught to put a premium on exact knowledge. Now as engineers 
we must know to a remote decimal point the amount of strain a 
material will tolerate if it is to provide an ample safety factor in the 
device for which we will use it. Now as businessmen we must be able 
to balance costs of raw materials, of overhead, of labor, of distribution, 
against changing demands and fluctuating currencies. These things 
all vary from time to time, but they can always be measured and 
defined. But you can't say the same in any way about human feelings 
and behavior. If you have an electric current of known amperage, it 
will give you a predictable performance in a motor of given design, 
but who can say what will happen to a person who is impelled by a 
comparable force, say the force of hatred? He can devastate a con- 
tinent. He can be killed by his own high blood pressure. He can bite 
his nails. He can kick the cat. You can see the strength of hatred but 
you cannot assess it in ergs." 

"Now some executives," said the production manager, "try to 
keep their peace of mind by ignoring the human variables in their 
operation, and running it on what they consider a common-sense 
logical basis. It is as though they thought they were feeding an 
automatic machine with uniform stock, whereas they were actually 
putting in a random collection of diamonds, beer mugs, old shoes, and 

"There are some people like us," said the vice president, "who 
feel more comfortable deahng with things than with people, who try 

Management Man; Some of His Piohhms 309 

to get along in business by keeping a close watch on their own 
reactions and behavior. We read books on the way an executive ought 
to be and how he ought to act. I have read a lot of them myself and 
some are extremely wise. If you want to see a fair sample of the kind 
of help they give, you can look at these rules because they were drawn 
up by an eminent and respected engineer. They are from 'The Un- 
written Laws of Engineering' by Professor W. J. King of the Univer- 
sity of California/' [From Mechanical Engineering; May, June, July, 

The production manager read the paper handed him: 

''1. Cultivate the tendency to appreciate the good qualities 
rather than the shortcomings of each individual. 

"2. Do not give vent to impatience and annoyance on slight 

'3. Do not harbor grudges after disagreements involving hon- 
est differences of opinion. 

'H. Form the habit of considering the feelings and interests 
of others. 

''5. Do not become unduly preoccupied with your own selfish 

''6. Make it a rule to help the other fellow whenever an op- 
portunity arises. 

'7. Be particularly careful to be fair on all occasions. 

"8. Do not take yourself or your work too seriously. 

''9. Put yourself out a little to be genuinely cordial in greeting 

''10. Give the other fellow the benefit of the doubt if you are 
inclined to suspect his motives, especially when you can afford to 
do so." 

''What do you think of them?" the vice president asked. 
"I admire the humanitarian spirit they were written in," said the 
production manager, "and I agree with their social purpose, but it 
would seem that they are designed to impair the clear thinking of the 
engineer who conscientiously tries to follow them. Two of these laws 
demand that he deliberately warp his judgments. 'Cultivate the tend- 
ency to appreciate the good qualities rather than the shortcomings of 
each individual.' If he does this, how can he obtain an accurate 
picture of anyone, a concept that can be used objectively? Isn't this 
like describing a metallic alloy by exaggerating its good qualities. 

310 The Search for Certainty 

lightness and ductility, and minimizing its brittleness and high cost? 
How useful would such a distortion be to you if you wished to 
manufacture with the material? 'Give the other fellow the benefit of 
the doubt if you are inclined to suspect his motives, especially when 
you can afford to do so/ How does this jibe with the scientific attitude 
that wherever there is a doubt in an observation, it should not be 
slurred over but checked and rechecked until no more doubt exists?" 

He paused a moment and continued: 

'There are four other precepts that deny the obedient engineer 
any self-expression or self-interest. The first two, 'Do not give vent to 
impatience and annoyance on slight provocation' and 'Do not harbor 
grudges after disagreements involving honest differences of opinion,' 
exhort him to take his attention away from the other person with 
whom he is impatient or annoyed or has had a disagreement, and 
concentrate on his own behavior. All that seems to matter here is that 
he present a smooth front to his antagonist even though it is in- 
sincere. Yet this man, by definition, is very angry. 

"What happens when he turns the other cheek? Emotions are 
like old soldiers, and they never die. When they fade away it is to 
reappear in a new guise. This engineer who has suppressed his anger 
may develop a smoldering antipathy to the person who provoked it 
which he may not recognize. He won't obviously threaten his enemy 
but at the same time he no longer dares to understand him or himself. 
And he will understand even less if he obeys the next two prohibitions. 
Listen to these: 

" 'Do not become unduly preoccupied with your own selfish 
interests,' and 'Do not take yourself and your work too seriously.' 
Without his work and his selfish interests, what has this law-abiding 
engineer to contribute to his firm? He then has no individual view- 
point, no special knowledge. And if his work is of the creative or 
enterprising kind, how can it succeed unless he devotes himself to it 
with the greatest seriousness? No one else will carry out his project 
for him. 

"Three of those laws tell the conforming engineer how he should 
improve himself. They say 'Form the habit of considering the feelings 
and interests of others.' 'Make it a rule to help the other fellow when- 
ever an opportunity arises.' 'Be particularly careful to be fair on all 
occasions.' These rules do not tell him how to be helpful or con- 
siderate or fair. Their wording implies that they should be exercised, 

Management Man; Some oi His Piohlems 311 

not spontaneously because he wants to, but from a sense of duty. 
'Form the habit/ 'make it a rule/ 'on all occasions/ You might guess 
that conforming as much as this makes the engineer appear with- 
drawn and sulky. Otherwise why should he need admonition number 
9, Tut yourself out a little to be genuinely cordial in greeting people/ " 

'Tes/' said the vice president in agreement, ''if these laws were 
conscientiously obeyed, they would produce a worker admirably suited 
to a humble job that demanded little initiative, slight originality and 
a good deal of deference to impatient people. This man's principal 
concern would be the impression he made on others, rather than the 
impression other people made on him.'' 

However, the vice president can hardly evaluate usefully the 
impression that another person makes on him if he only thinks of this 
individual's behavior as a reaction to present circumstances. To be 
realistic, he should consider every piece of conduct as the sum and 
product of all previous experiences. The happenings of the day before 
yesterday, forgotten though they may be, are often as influential as 
those of today. To regard life otherwise is as erroneous as interpreting 
the diagram of an apparatus as though the machine itself lay flat on 
the paper instead of having depth as well as length and breadth. 

But this three-dimensional view of a human being, this aware- 
ness of the vitality of the past which is here recommended, was hardly 
recognized before the beginning of the twentieth century. It is con- 
temporary with another discovery — that it is practical for men to 
move up through the air as well as over the earth's surface. It is easy 
for the vice president to use this second scientific advance and to fly 
when he wishes to travel efficiently. But it is very difficult for him to 
use the first. 

The reason for this is that it is often unpleasant for him, as it is 
for everyone else, to contemplate his own yesterdays. Here and there 
the memory of a triumph or transitory happiness lingers with him, 
revived perhaps when he meets an acquaintance with whom he can 
talk of the good old times, carefully avoiding mention of the good 
old times' less attractive aspects. Though a successful and fortunate 
individual, he remembers innumerable occasions when he felt inade- 
quate, ashamed, guilty, or sad. And the further he goes back to child- 
hood, the more often he sees himself in these moods, which were by- 
products of his upbringing. The occurrences that gave rise to them, a 
rebuke, a failure, a mishap, or a loss, may not of themselves have been 

312 The Search for Certainty 

momentous, but the fact that now he can do nothing to remedy them 
makes it irksome to recall the mood that they engendered. When he 
does so, he is like a patriot fretting because of battles his country lost 
in the seventeenth century. 

Even the best of his ancient memories of himself may appear 
undignified if not ridiculous if he identifies with them as an adult. 
True, the picture of the finely built athlete, captain of his college 
team, is gratifying, but what of the older portrait, of the overdressed 
little boy who squirmed and sulked in the photographer's studio? 

The vice president, instinctively avoiding all of his personal recol- 
lections except those that flatter him, also refrains from looking into 
another person's past. The experiences he might see there could re- 
mind him too vividly of his own. And at the same time, he is averse to 
spying into memories where he feels he has no business. 

The discomfort which every person feels on honestly contemplat- 
ing the way he was, if not the way he is now, is one of the reasons why 
Freud's discoveries of the role of the hidden past were greeted with 
ridicule and hostility. However, despite this reaction, the knowledge 
of inner stresses, of unseen motivations and of emotional defenses 
gained by psychoanalysis has helped an ever increasing number of 
people to lead happier and more useful lives, and more than is gen- 
erally known, psychoanalytic theory is influencing and enriching other 
fields. In the law courts, the judge berates the offender on legal or 
moral grounds, but the probation officer recalls lectures on the psycho- 
dynamics of delinquency that will help him handle the culprit outside 
the court. In the literary world, the reviewer penning his column for a 
great daily considers the novel before him less in the light of his own 
reactions than to the extent to which it portrays accurately the oedipal 
situation. And in medicine, many a patient with a gastric ulcer, who 
once would have climbed onto an operating table without delay, now 
dives for an analyst's couch instead. 

'Tine," says the vice president. ''But we're not judges or literary 
critics or doctors. We just manufacture metal and plastic products, 
particularly precision instruments. How can psychoanalytic theory 
help us in getting along with each other and our subordinates, and in 
giving us more certainty about our operations?" 

In reply, the executive is invited to look, by the light of psycho- 
analytic theory, at the jobs in his company, in the factory, in the 
office, or carried out by specialists, seeing them not as work done with 

Management Man: Some of His PiohJems 313 

the muscles or mind, but as expressions of the most important forces 
of the worker's being, of activities vital to his existence. When he re- 
gards a job as an integral part of the v^orker's life, not merely as the 
gainful pastime of his productive hours, the executive can better 
understand the worker's reactions to it. He will see that sometimes an 
operation calls for primitive urges, sometimes for a denial of these 
urges, or again for facing the same frustrations and fears that have 
haunted the worker since infancy. This view of a job will explain how 
one worker may find health and well-being at his desk or bench, an- 
other tension and inability to concentrate, and a third intolerable 
anger and weariness. A recognition of the part played by the past will 
reveal why some ambitious people shrink from promotion, and why a 
woman's place may be in the plant as well as in the home. 

An awareness of emotions in the worker which their possessor may 
not himself recognize will give the executive more sureness in dealing 
with obstacles to production, with lessened output, with absences, 
with accidents and grievances. 

A psychoanalytic approach will reveal the actual forces which 
may operate in disagreements between the executive and his col- 
leagues, and the hidden entanglements that can prevent him from 
finishing tasks which he longs to complete. It will also indicate the 
other factors besides hourly rates and living costs that play a role in 
labor-management disputes. 

The executive may protest, "It is fifty years since Sigmund Freud 
made his discoveries of the hidden forces of the mind. He was study- 
ing dreams, phantoms of the night, barely glimpsed and dimly recol- 
lected by the dreamer, incapable of verification; listening to hearsay; 
watching apparently pointless actions; witnessing illogical and ground- 
less elations, sorrows, aches and pains; he was concerned with yester- 
days and tomorrows that somehow got entangled." 

To which the answer is, 'The same uncertainties, intangibles, and 
imponderables Freud revealed work just as subtly and powerfully in 
the well-organized new extension to the factory where precision instru- 
ments are made in mass, as they did in old Vienna." 




Take an oyster, irritate it and get a pearl, take a manage- 
ment man, initate him enough and you get an ulcer or, as 
John Ciaidi would prefer to have it, a poem. 

A poem would certainly he an excellent antidote not only 
to the ulcer, hut to the daily ulcerations oi language that go 
on every day in the average business office. "Businessese," 
that esparanto of double-talk, passing the buck, hedging, and 
office indigestion that is so painiuUy recorded on paper, must 
go. Clarity, precision, yes, even beauty need not distract us 
irom the business oi earning a living. 

There has always been a great dichotomy in our civilization 
between the man oi letters and arts and the man oi science 
and business. This separation has been greatly applauded 
since the earliest days oi our country. Thomas Jefferson, a 
great man whom the poets and writers so oiten like to quote, 
was very much against the arts as such. He was afraid oi them 
because they required a certain kind oi leisure that our 
country at that time could not afford. When there are trees 
to be cut, houses to be built, land to be cleared, industries to 
be started, when there are laws to be laid down, a govern- 
ment to be set up, the arts are only in the way. What was 
good enough ior Jefferson was good enough for the men that 

* Originally published by the National College English Associa- 
tion under the title 'Toetry and the Practical Man." 


316 An Ulcei, Gentlemen, Is an Unwritten Poem 

came after. There is something a little pathetic that poetry 
only reached the inauguration platform of American life on 
such a gusty winter day that the words of the poem were lost 
in the sentiment that America had discovered A POET. 

Mr. Ciardi, a poet and a perceptive observer of his soci- 
ety, demonstrates that a poem is better than an ulcer. We 
share the belief that man's more intimate self-expression is 
more important than the chart on the wall. This does not 
necessarily mean that the two are mutually exclusive. Our 
age must learn there is not the sharp differentiation between 
the businessman and the bard that once existed. There is not 
that break between science and the arts on which our civiliza- 
tion for a short while was founded. All our drives and anx- 
ieties and ambitions are closely related. We simply choose 
different ways to express ourselves. Sometime we urge you to 
explore other forms of self-expression. Try writing a poem or 
try a painting that is not outlined and directed by that most 
miserable aspect of our management life, the numbered fill- 
in painting. For one thing it gives one an insight into crea- 
tivity that is invaluable. 

James Joyce, one of the greatest imaginative artists of all 
times, said there was poetry in boat building. There is poetry 
in the building of anything, including an organization, and 
the imagination and creativity necessary for those roles are 
very frequently underestimated. This does not mean that the 
man at the top should always be creative; very frequently he 
is there only to explore and understand the creative ideas of 
others. But even that takes an enormous amount of intuitive 
understanding. Henry Ford, for example, evolved from his 
own intuitive processes a concept which more than anything 
else accounted for his spectacular early success. To look at it, 
the Model 'T" perhaps does not look like the work of an 
incredible genius, but the conception of it was. A car for the 
masses, built in quantity, sold at ever lower prices as con- 
sumption grew, this was, without doubt, one of the most 
extraordinary, imaginative concepts of the twentieth century 
— it was a kind of public poem or sculpture of our time — just 
as Madison Avenue, as you wiJJ see on Page 319 is creating 

Management Man: Some oi His Piohkms 317 

a foJkJore public poetry of out time. A poem, of course, in 
its strictest sense, is for the private man. The greatest refuge 
from the lonely crowd, from the affluent society, from the 
over-adjusted, unadjusted, maladjusted cacophony of words 
about our society, is still a poem. If you cant write one, 
read one. 

Management Man: Some of His Piohkms 319 


± h 

he poet in our times is a figure of estrangement and 
he knows it. He not only knows it, he has grown used 
to the fact and does not much mind it. The truth seems to be, for that 
matter, that the poet — outside those golden ages of folk poetry now 
long gone — never did reach more than a few special people in any 

In the past, however, poets have managed to persuade themselves 
that they were some sort of social force. Elizabethan poets liked to 
claim that their sonnets conferred immortality on the ladies they 
wrote about. The seventeenth-century satirists were especially fond 
of the idea that by ''holding folly up to ridicule'' they purified the in- 
tellect of their ages. More recently Shelley found it possible to assert 
that 'Toets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." And 
even within the last twenty-five years, the social poets of the thirties 
may be cited as having seriously believed that their poems of social 
protest had a measurable effect on the government of nations. 

Stephen Spender, looking back on the mood of poetry in the 
thirties from the vantage point of 1950, summarized the poet's then- 
sense of himself as very much a warrior of the practical world: 

It was still possible then to think of a poem as a palpable, overt, and 
effective anti-fascist action. Every poetic assertion of the dignity of the in- 
dividual seemed to be a bullet fired in the war against human repression. 

I know of no sane poet today who persuades himself that the 
action of his art and imagination has any significant consequence in 
the practical reality of Dow-Jones averages, election returns and state 
of the nation. Wherever the practical world may be, Auden has de- 
fined the position of poetry in our time: 

For poetry makes nothing happen : it survives 
In the valley of its saying where executives 
Would never want to tamper; it flows south 
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs. 
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives, 
A way of happening, a mouth. 

320 An Ulceij Gentlemen^ Is an Unwritten Poem 

But no — perhaps to prove that poets are no prophets — the execu- 
tives have wanted to tamper. Under the auspices of the College Eng- 
lish Association a group of leading business executives have been meet- 
ing regularly with writers and teachers of the liberal arts, and from 
their problems in the practical world of business management, they 
seem to be asking seriously what meeting there can be between the 
arts and the practicalities of industry. 

The answer to these questions may well be that the poets and the 
practical men would be mutually happier in leaving one another 
strictly alone, the poets on their ranches of isolation practicing a way 
of happening, and the practical men in their cities of numbered and 
lettered glass doors busily pushing the buttons of the world. 

For the gap that divides the poet from the practical man is real. 
Nor will it be measurably closed by pointing out that some men have 
functioned with distinction in both the poetical and the practical 
imagination. There was a director of public works named Chaucer, 
there was a bricklayer named Ben Jonson, there was a good soldier 
named Richard Lovelace — one could compile endlessly. But all that 
such a list would prove is that some men are ambidextrous; it would 
not eliminate the distinction between the right hand and the left. 

A poem is a kind of human behavior. Plowing a field, running a 
chemical experiment and analyzing the character of a job applicant are 
also kinds of human behavior. The poem may, of course, be about any 
one of these human actions; but when the poem deals with them, it 
does so in nonpractical ways. The poet who writes about plowing a 
field may find significance in the idea of plowing, or he may describe 
plowing so richly that the riches of the description become a self- 
pleasing idea in themselves. He does not, however, turn physical soil, 
plant an actual crop and take it to the literal human diet by way of a 
negotiable cash market. In the same way, the poet may create a power- 
fully penetrating picture of the character of the man the business 
executive is interviewing for a job. But when the poet has finished his 
analysis, he has no need to make a pay-roll decision and to assign the 
man to a specific job in a specific department. 

Poetry and practicality are in fact two different worlds with two 
different workers of experience and of imagination. The poet enters 
his world as an as if: he writes as if he were analyzing a real man seated 
before him. He is free with a stroke of the pen to change the linea- 
ments of the world he has imagined. The work sheets of a poem by 

Management Man: Some oi His Piohkms 321 

Karl Shapiro contain a monumental example of this freedom to as ii 
at will. 

Setting out to describe the [as ii] dome of darkness that settles 
over a city at night, he writes in his first draft: ''Under the fatherly 
dome of the universe and the town." Now "fatherly dome" cannot 
fail to imply a theoretical universe in the mind of God the Father. 
For reasons that need not be examined here, Shapiro, in his second 
draft, rephrased the idea "under the dome of zero." Simply by chang- 
ing one central word, Shapiro swung the universe itself from the 
theological concept of "father" to the scientific concept of "zero." 
And the poem continued to follow itself as if the process of reversing 
thirty centuries of human attitudes in a single word amounted to 
nothing whatever. 

The practical man has no such large freedom. He enters a world 
called is._ When he is at work, he is plowing a field, he is assembling 
chemical apparatus, he is interviewing an actual man whose name ap- 
pears on the census listings and who is offering his services in return 
for real and taxable wages. 

It is only natural, moreover, that men who give their attention to 
either of these two worlds should not be especially well disposed to the 
other. Poets tend to think very little of stockbrokers, and stockbrokers 
tend to think even less — if at all — of poets. And the fact is that some 
of the best poetry of our times has been written on what may be called 
an inverted sense of reality, an order of imagination that asserts openly 
or by implication that what the practical men do is meaningless and 
that only the as ii of the vicarious imagination has a place in the final 
mind of man. So Wallace Stevens, in a poem significantly titled "Holi- 
day in Reality," listed a series of things seen and said of them: "These 
are real only if I make them so," and concluded: "Intangible arrows 
quiver and stick in the skin/ And I taste at the root of the tongue the 
unreal/ Of what is real." 

It may be very much to the point that Wallace Stevens, in an- 
other part of his imagination, was a vice-president of the Hartford 
Accident and Indemnity Company and a specialist in claims on surety 
bonds. Obviously, however, Wallace Stevens could not look into his 
surety-bond claims and send in a report that "These are real only if I 
make them so." That difference between the world of practical solu- 
tions and the world of the vicarious imagination must not be blinked 

322 An UJcer, Gentlemen, Is an Unwiitten Poem 

What must be borne in mind, rather, is the fact that no sane 
human being is exclusively a practical man. The plant manager may be 
the most mechanically efficient of calculators during his waking hours; 
and still his dreams or his nightmares will be human and impractical. 
What is his order of reality and of business efficiency when he first 
holds his newborn child? Or when, as some men must in time, he 
stands by his child's grave? What is his order of reality when he steps 
out of a late conference and finds a hurricane shaking the earth? Or 
his wife is ill and the telephone rings: In one ear he hears his assistant 
howling that the subcontractor sent the wrong parts and that a rush 
order is delayed, while with the other he hears the doctor close the 
bedroom door and start down the stairs to tell him his wife will or 
will not recover. Which of these realities is more real than the other 
to live to? 

The poem does not care and cannot care what happens to that 
rush order. The poem is of the humanity of the man. And despite the 
tendency ... [to admire] only those men who ''do things" and to 
scorn ''dreamers," the fact is that no man can be wholly practical or 
wholly impractical, and that the humanity of any man's life requires 
some, at least, of both orders of the imagination. 

There is no poetry for the practical man. There is poetry only 
for the mankind of the man who spends a certain amount of his life 
turning the mechanical wheel. But let him spend too much of his life 
at the mechanics of practicality and either he must become something 
less than a man, or his very mechanical efficiency will become im- 
paired by the frustrations stored up in his irrational human person- 
ality. An ulcer, gentlemen, is an unkissed imagination taking its re- 
venge for having been jilted. It is an unwritten poem, a neglected 
music, an unpainted water color, an undanced dance. It is a declara- 
tion from the mankind of the man that a clear spring of joy has not 
been tapped, and that it must break through, muddily, on its own. 

Poetry is one of the forms of joy, the most articulate, the most 
expanding, and, therefore, the most fulfilling form. It is no separation 
from the world; it is the mankind of the world, the most human 
language of man's uncertain romance with the universe. 




The ordinary businessman constantly complains oi his 
inahiUty to write his reports easily and to express himself 
adequately. Engineering and scientiEc management men, he- 
cause they are dealing so frequently with abstract concepts 
rather than with the communication necessary between in- 
dividualSj End it particularly difficult to express themselves 
succinctly and with clarity. The language of business is 
fraught with pedantry, dangling phrases, and convolutions of 
speech that all but strangle vocabulary itself. However, as 
much as these members of management life may be attacked 
for their shortcomings in language, others are attacked more 
vehemently for another reason. 

It is not the management man who uses words loosely or 
badly that is condemned nearly as much as the management 
man who uses them cleverly, powerfully, and easily. It is the 
management man in the mass media — in magazines, books, 
television, and advertising — who is constantly under attack 
as perverting the American way of life, destroying the Ameri- 
can dream, and, God forbid, misusing the American language. 

Twentieth century management life has shown an interest- 
ing transition in its choice of sacrificial lambs. In both in- 
stances the sacriRcial lambs have been, of course, as their 
detractors maintain, wolves in sheep's clothing. The Erst of 

* From: The New York Times, December 11, 1960. 

324 Semantics and Today's "Poetry" 

course was the banker, the financier, the man oi Wall Street 
who constantly threatened American ideals. Wall Street was 
a term oi approbation in the intellectual life oi the United 
States until our world oi abundance caught up with the 
small stockholder. When Wall Street opened what amounted 
to suburban oiEces throughout the United States, our super- 
market conscience decided we always get a bargain on our 
own Main Street, and the very concept oi that distant den 
oi iniquity disappeared as the soit grass around regional 
stockbrokers' oiRces. 

Wall Street disbursed, but Madison Avenue did not (al- 
/ ; though it soon will). America loves to Bght geography with 

great seli-righteousness; it has been attacking Madison Ave- 
nue ever since the spectre oi Wall Street iaded. The busi- 
nessman is attacked because he cannot communicate, and 
the communications management man is attacked because he 
can. This fascinating phenomenon gives our culture a split- 
level vocabulary, and some interesting iolklore turns oi 
speech, like a cigarette should. 

Robert Alden in The New York Times is a brilh'ant 
spokesman for the trials oi the management man who is 
also an ad man. He has oiten asked why single out Madison 
Avenue? In the ioUowing attempt at clarity, Mr. Alden gives 
us a reireshing picture oi advertising today. 

Management Man: Some oi His Piohkms 32S 


n The Times of London during January, 1954, the fol- 
lowing letter was printed in that newspaper's Letters to 
the Editor column: 


In your issue of Dec. 31, you quote Mr. B. S. Morris as saying 
that many people are disturbed because about half the children in 
the country are below average in reading ability. 

This is only one of many similarly disturbing facts. About half 
the church steeples in the country are below average height, about 
half our coal scuttles below average capacity and about half our babies 
below average weight. 

The only remedy would seem to be to repeal the law of averages. 

Yours faithfully, * * *. 

Mr. Morris had been caught off base in public print and the 
letter writer has rather cruelly made him pay for his error. 

Unfortunately Mr. Morris' mistake is not an uncommon one. 
Language appears to be a step-child of the modern era. It is often 
carelessly handled and the results are at times horrendous. 

But since language is the chief tool of the advertising business, 
the matter of semantics — the science of word meanings — should be a 
matter of importance to advertising people. 

Words are often used to deceive, not only by advertising people, 
but by all people. People may accuse advertisers of misusing language 
to induce them to make purchases, that they do not need. Perhaps so. 

But these same people are guilty of misusing language from 
adolescence to the grave to hide their own true feelings and to gain 
their own ends. Children, the Bible says, are immune from this matter 
of language twisting. 

This is true of the man who writes a derogatory book about ad- 
vertising — not principally to enlighten the public, as he may say, but 
in reality to win fame and gain money for himself. It is just as true of 
the man who sends out a press release that says ''Mr. X is opening a 
brick factory in this town because there is a lot of construction in the 
community and therefore, there is a crying need for bricks." 

If people are to be held to the exactitudes of language and bare 

326 Semantics and Today's "Poetry" 

honesty, the release should read: ''Mr. X is opening a brick factory 
in this town because he desires to make money and he sees a good 
opportunity with all the construction work in town/' 

Mr. X, just as the man who reads the release, knows that there 
is probably more of a crying need for a librarian or a teacher or a 
worker in the charity ward of the local hospital than there is for bricks. 

Therefore, why single out advertising as being guilty of a crime 
in the misuse of words, when all are guilty? To be utterly honest, in 
society as it exists now, is to be totally destructive. Anyone who has 
seen and understood the recent production of Eugene O'NeiU's 'The 
Iceman Cometh" on television knows that. 

It is, therefore, refreshing to listen to some of the opinions of 
Prof. S. I. Hayakawa, an expert in semantics. 

Professor Hayakawa described the advertisers as the poets of the 

"It is the poet's role to give the data of everyday experience a 
meaning beyond itself. The advertiser, usurping, the poetic function, 
does the same. Canadian Club whisky becomes a symbol of adventure. 
Cigarettes, blankets, Coca-Cola, toothpaste, are surrounded with all 
kinds of symbols: happiness, gaiety, romance — nothing but poetiz- 


Professor Hayakawa, in answer to a reporter's question in a recent 
issue of Sales Management magazine, does not find the advertisers 
particularly good poets, but he is more fascinated by the fact that they 
do not see themselves as poets. 

"For 99.1 per cent of our people," Professor Hayakawa says, 
"advertising is their poetry, the only poetry they ever come in contact 
with. And what this poetry says, in effect, is that there is no human ill 
that cannot be somehow taken care of by buying the sellers' products. 

"The important fact to consider in all this is that the picture 
presented by advertising has only one side: the sunny aspect. There are 
areas of emotion it dares not touch: sacrifice, responsibility, hard work, 
other-worldliness. The reader, at all costs, must be kept in a mood to 

"If advertising entered into the taboo areas of emotion, it would 
have to argue: Let's not buy a new car this year; let's give the money 
to CARE. Or here is a grief you can't cure by buying our product. 
The only time this area is touched upon is during wars, when adver- 
tising assumes a somewhat altered role as handmaiden of the profit 

Management Man: Some of His Piohlems 327 

system; then we are reminded or urged to sacrifice for the war effort. 

''We might ask: Has not consumer advertising gone too far in 
the promotion of delusional daydreams to accompany every cereal 
and every package of soap? Every perfume, candy, whisky, food 
specialty? Is the alleged materialism and superficiality of our whole 
culture attributable in large part to the fact that advertising has be- 
come a moral force shaping the direction of our goal seeking? 

"Is business undermining its own future capacity to sell people 
their products and the system under which these are produced? *** 
Mightn't it be worth asking whether the kids will be so disillusioned 
by the time they reach 8 or 9 that by the time they reach 25 and have 
been forced to experience the real world in contrast to the fantasy 
world of television, their reactions will be such that it will be im- 
possible to sell them anything?" 

Having let Professor Hayakawa have his say at length, many 
readers and, in particular, many advertisers, will have their own re- 
actions to his words. 

Advertisers, for example, know full well that advertising, and very 
effective advertising, has been prepared to induce people to contribute 
to CARE. Perhaps advertising does not give as much emphasis as it 
might to sacrifice, responsibility, hard work, other-worldliness. 

But, along with all the dreams it has sold, it has devoted some 
time to these matters. It may in the future surprise a great many of 
its critics and bend a good deal of its effort more in this direction. 

It is probably true, as Professor Hayakawa implies, that advertis- 
ing has been guilty of becoming a moral force shaping the direction 
of goal-seeking toward materialism and superficiality. 

But, if the belief grows, and it is growing, that the safety and 
future well-being of this country depend on a tightening of the belt, 
a reorientation away from false values in life to more lasting values, 
advertising is a tool, and it may be the key tool, that is employed to 
reorient the American people. 

If this is done, it will not be done because of any high moral 
purpose. Advertising is, after all, a product of its own time — no better, 
no worse, than the world that surrounds it. This reorientation will be 
done out of a sense of self-preservation for advertising and the rest of 
society, which advertising needs in order to thrive. 

As for Professor Hayakawa's thought that children exposed to 
the dreams of television from the age of 8 or 9 will be so disillusioned 

328 Semantics and Today's 'Toetry** 

by the realities of the world by the time they are 25 they will refuse 
to buy anything, it is preferred to refer this matter to a true poet of 
our times, Eugene O'Neill. In man, dreams die hard, if they ever die. 
When they do die, death, itself, also arrives. 

So it appears safe enough for the advertisers, the poor poets of 
the time, to continue to sell their fantasy. It would be more to the 
point to ask them to become better poets, more amusing poets and 
thus better sellers and better builders of a better fantasy. 




The typical top executive oi a ma/or company was born in 
the Middle West oi in the East and his father was a business- 
man. His four years oi college concentrated on business and 
science. When he went to work after graduation, he stayed 
with that company until some time in his twenties when he 
was hired by the company in which he now serves as a top 
executive. He has been with that company for thirty years. 
He is between Bfty and sixty years old, and his compensation 
is approximately $70,000 to $100,000 a year. 

That is the picture of the top executive. If you are starting 
your career, the problems of management man are not per- 
haps the ones we have so carefully designated of conformity, 
communications, and certainty, but the simple yet how 
complex problem of how does one become an executive. 

There have been many shockingly long and dull guides 
developed to help you up that ladder but the authors of such 
elaborate instruction manuals make it a very perilous journey. 
That astute Fortune writer, Perrin Stryker, author of The 
Men From the Boys seems to us to separate the men from 
the boys in his following suggestions. He is not giving out 
Boy Scout instructions on how to build an executive Ere and 
tell success stories around that Ere, but he gives some con- 

* From The Executive Life (New York: Doubleday & Company, 
Inc.) 1955. 


330 How to Be an Executive 

ciete advice that starts out with the wonderfully frank first 
line: "Don't fall for that bunk about experience and know 
how" and ends up with the rule oi thumb that we all can 
take to heart: Forget yourself, get down to work and enjoy 

Management Man: Some of His Problems 331 


on't Ml for that hunk about experience and know- 
how. In trying to figure out the best way up the 
promotion ladder, an aspiring young man is bound to hear a lot of 
talk about the solid virtues of technical training and ''experience/' 
Most likely, it will be expressed in terms of ''generalized" versus 
"specialized" management careers. The virtues of specialization have 
long been publicized and such blurbs as "Learn Electronics — Earn Big 
Money" have lured many eager young men into technical careers that 
paid handsomely. And many college seniors have undoubtedly been 
told by ivory hunters on their campuses that even greater rewards 
await them if they learn all sides of a company's business and become 
a general manager. Most big companies say they are looking for the 
"well-rounded" man, and many of them have taken to rotating young 
managers from specialized staff jobs to "generalized" line positions in 
order to widen their experience. 

The would-be executive should be aware, though, of the dif- 
ference between being a manager with broad experience — period — and 
being a manager whose broad experience has developed his judgment. 
It's the broad judgment that top management is after, and not simply 
a man with a load of varied technical or professional knowledge. This 
is a big point that's been obscured in all talk of specialization vs. gen- 
eralization. A man may, of course, get to be controller of a company 
by being a whiz at figures and acquiring a smattering of knowledge 
about production and selling. But if he hasn't shown improvement in 
judgment as he rises from job to job, his position in the upper ranks 
is likely to be shaky. And at some point he'll be passed by a smarter 
man who knows that it's judgment, not knowledge, that puts a man 
on top. 

For would-be executives, a degree in, say, law or engineering is 
valuable primarily because it may develop their judgment and thus 
make them eligible for top jobs. Take the case of one steel-company 
executive who rose to a position only three levels below the top- 
ranking finance post in his company by the time he was thirty-nine. 
This man started out in a simple accounting job in a subsidiary, was 
shifted two years later to statistical work at headquarters, and there 

332 How to Be an Executive 

noted that the men in the upper ranks who had law degrees got into 
pohcy matters and had ''the key" to questions that stumped executives 
without legal training. Telling himself 'Td like some of that/' he put 
in five years at night school getting a law degree. Then he made a 
smart decision: he refused a bid to enter the company's legal depart- 
ment, figuring that his chances for promotion were better in his old 
department where there were many more managers' jobs available. It 
wasn't long before his reputation as a lawyer spread informally to 
executives who would ask him for help on labor negotiations and other 
legal matters. Because of his training he was also soon drawn into 
policy discussions where he attracted the attention of high-ranking 
executives, and eventually was tapped to fill his present job. 

This smart young fellow knows that his knowledge of law was not 
the main reason for his swift rise. He credits his law schooling chiefly 
with teaching him how to analyze situations clearly, thereby improv- 
ing his judgment, and with bringing him to the attention of top man- 
agers. In addition, he attributes his success to his own attitude toward 
working for superiors: 'Tm always willing to do what the boss wants 
done. I think that's the most important thing — analyzing what the 
objectives of the corporation are and seeing what you can do to help 
them along. Anyone who tries to be helpful this way gets ahead." 

You can be hiight — oi very stupid — to switch jobs. There is great 
danger in deliberately switching from one company to another in order 
to pick up experience and hike your pay. Some college professors have 
been recommending this practice for the first few years as the fastest 
way to get ahead. The advice naturally is disturbing to personnel men 
in large corporations seeking to hire men who will make one company 
their career. But the men who take the switch-freely advice are the 
ones who run the risk of being most disturbed by it, eventually. Shift- 
ing jobs simply for experience and more money doesn't necessarily im- 
prove their chances for important promotions; it is often a strong 
indication that the switchers don't know what they like to do, and 
don't understand that promotions come from working hard at what 
they like, rather than from accumulating a miscellany of business in- 

Nevertheless, some young men are trying the shifting technique 
as a route up the promotion ladder. Personnel men report that young 
men are now generally much more salary-conscious than their fathers 

Management Man; Some of His Piohlems 333 

were and are harder to keep satisfied. As one big company*s personnel 
department has found, dissatisfied young managers often are under 
pressure from their wives to move; one man shifted three times be- 
cause ''his wife didn't think he was being promoted fast enough/' 
Now this is not to say that needhng by a wife will inhibit his career, 
since an ambitious wife can drive a man a long way up the success 
ladder. But if the pressure from her is insistent, he may have to decide 
whether he or his wife is managing his business life; and if he lets her 
do it, then he's taken his eye off the promotion ball by failing to keep 
on doing the work that he likes to do. 

Some interesting evidence on shifting jobs has been collected by 
recruiter Jack Handy of Handy Associates in New York. His records 
show a young man is wise to change jobs for the first few years, but 
only until he finds what he really wants to do and is naturally good at. 
Thereafter, he's just asking for trouble if he tries to shift to a different 
kind of work, especially when he's older. A man who has made a suc- 
cess of staff work up to the age of thirty-eight and then changes to a 
line job. Handy finds, runs a hundred-to-one risk of failing. The few 
who succeed have previously demonstrated that they possess some de- 
gree of the line man's inherent capacity for order giving. 

Staff men who switch to line, and fail, do so because they can't 
change their spots. Handy once plucked from a management-consult- 
ing firm a man who had just finished a year revamping the accounting 
system of a $150-million company. The company thought he had done 
a first-class job, and Handy got him a position with one of his own 
clients as the controller of a large division. This client thought the 
man was a whiz for eight months but then told Handy they were let- 
ting him go. Why? ''We couldn't get him to delegate. He dives in and 
does a beautiful job on a spot, meantime his other departments can't 
find him for decisions. Another thing, he gets his group together and 
starts selling them his ideas instead of telling them to carry out his 

The reverse twist on this business of misplacing a manager — that 
is, putting a line man in a staff man's job — is just as apt to end un- 
successfully. For example, a very good production man, with experi- 
ence in plastics, rubber, and textiles, was placed by Handy in a big 
corporation, as liaison between top management and the heads of sub- 
sidiaries. He lasted six months. The president complained, "He can- 
not realize that he is not going out to give orders. He's got me in hot 

334 How to Be an Executive 

water several times." The man is back in line work, successfully run- 
ning a division of still another company. 

Don't be fooled hy your college tiaining. Whether a man picks 
line or staff work, he shouldn't assume that his formal education in 
business methods or in technical fields such as engineering will decide 
the route he eventually follows. Many young men recently have taken 
up engineering with the idea that this is where the real money and fast 
promotions are sure to be had. But the current rush of corporations 
to entice young engineers onto their payrolls is no guarantee that ten 
years from now, when they are seriously climbing the ladder, there 
will be a need for engineers at the top. Similarly, the recent doctrine 
found in books, articles, and college placement bureaus to the effect 
that a sales career is the one most likely to get you an important 
executive berth is largely based on the hindsight of success stories. 
Sure selling is an important, promising avenue to the top ranks, but 
who can say that in 1965 it will be more important and promising 
than, say, industrial relations, or even, heaven forfend, industrial 

In other words, a man shouldn't take his college training too 
seriously as an index of what he's headed for. To be sure, those who 
have picked up a B.A. degree may find it harder to get a good job 
than those who have an engineering or a business-administration de- 
gree, and executive recruiters like Minot Dole of Ward Howell As- 
sociates in New York are often exasperated at the myopia that cor- 
poration personnel departments exhibit on this score. But, as Dole 
says, ''the man with the B.A. degree very often ends up being the 
president." What's more, the man who bones up on a specialty like 
accounting or law in evening courses is not automatically going to 
rise in his company simply because he has stored up some extra knowl- 
edge. Ward Howell, for instance, recalls a bank teller who got him- 
self a C.P.A. and a law degree by night work, and yet remained firmly 
assigned to his money-changing cage. He simply didn't have enough 
personality to qualify him for a higher job where he'd have to super- 
vise people. 

There's no magic in sticking close to the thione. Young manage- 
ment trainees often try to wise up their successors about the best kind 
of job to get. The favored spot, according to many, is a staff job in 

Management Man: Some of His Piohhms 335 

headquarters where a man will be noticed by the big boss and others 
who might put in a good word for him. Is it a fact? The advantages of 
getting a berth at a company's headquarters are not to be dismissed 
entirely, of course. If a man does his job well it is possible that word 
of it will reach top management's ears faster than if his reputation 
had to filter up through lower levels of management between his job 
in the field and the home office. But judging from what the majority 
of top executives say, the men who are picked for the very top jobs 
usually are heavily loaded with line experience, and the president's 
job in the future, as in the past, will undoubtedly go nearly always to 
the line-oriented man. There will, however, be plenty of high-ranking, 
well-paid staff jobs on the second and third echelons, and one of 
these may be what an ambitious manager is basically fitted for. 

He should also be wary of another angle being tried these days 
by a lot of business-school graduates eager to get themselves a job 
working for the president in the big-city headquarters of a company. 
They figure on picking up business know-how fast, right from the 
boss. Harvard Business School's sons appear to be especially fond of 
asking for an ''assistant-to-the-president" job. As one personnel man- 
ager puts it, 'They know nothing about our industry, but they've gone 
to Harvard Business School, and that's it." Their assumption seems 
to be that all one needs to become president is a knowledge of ad- 
ministrative techniques and a ''broad grasp" of a company's opera- 

Nothing, of course, could be sillier. Presidents aren't just "ad- 
ministrators" in the sense that Harvard and other business schools 
have been preaching. Presidents are primarily men who get things 
done, fast and with results, whether or not the doing offends those 
who carry out the orders. A good administrator is primarily a man 
who knows how to schedule and direct operations so that there is a 
minimum of friction in the process. The administrator's preoccupa- 
tion with eliminating friction in an organization may be the very 
thing that disqualifies him to be a president. 

Learn to supervise, beware the ruts. One industrial-relations di- 
rector points up the critical importance of supervision in these words: 
"The biggest jump a person makes in his career is the jump from 
doing a good individual job to the supervision of people." And he says 
there are several hundred men in his company's New York office, 

336 How to Be an Executive 

many college-trained, who have chosen to stay on routine jobs there 
so long — twenty years or so — that they are now stuck fast. Every big 
company has its crop of potential managers who have withered in a 
rut. So, in picking the job he likes, a man should be sure he doesn't 
pick the one that just makes things easiest for personal life. That nice 
suburban home isn't going to get any bigger or better if he just keeps 
working to hold the job he's got. 

Don't rely on that old oil, ''human relations." The business ''of 
getting along with people" has been vested with such importance in 
corporations today that it's accepted as the first law in executive-de- 
velopment programs. Almost all managers, young and old, say it's 
essential, and much of the time it may be good practice, but it all de- 
pends on what is meant (and understood) by the term. How many 
young men really know what it means to ''get along with people"? It 
isn't, by a long shot, the same thing as being a yes-man. A man has got 
to know how to play his cooperation. Sometimes he should show de- 
ference, and at other times the act of standing up to his boss may be 
just the thing that gets him favorable attention. 

There's the case of A.T. & T.'s retired board chairman, Walter 
S. Gifford. In 1904 Gifford, fresh out of Harvard with a B.A. degree, 
got a job as a payroll clerk with Western Electric Co. in Chicago and 
started to learn all he could about the company. Coming in early and 
staying late to explore the plant, he often forgot to punch the time 
clock, and when the office manager first bawled him out for this in- 
fraction, Gifford meekly said he'd try to do better. But he soon forgot 
again, and the next time he was called on the carpet he spoke up 
sharply. "Is my work satisfactory?" he asked the manager and, told 
that it was, he added, "All right then, I resign," and started to leave. 
Whereupon the manager relented, and told him to go on with his 
job. Gifford did so, and kept coming up with so many bright ideas for 
cutting costs that before the end of his second year he was made assist- 
ant secretary and treasurer of the company. In this job he continued 
to be completely unawed by his superiors. When one. official he called 
upon chided him for slouching in his chair, Gifford told him, "Seems 
to me I was hired to do a certain job, not to sit in a certain way." 
When the official apologized, Gifford realized he had firmly estab- 
lished himself as a promising young manager. 

Of course, stories like this are going to be passed off as corny by 

Management Man: Some of His Piohlems 337 

suspicious young men whoVe learned from books or urbane professors 
how much pohtics and apple polishing in one form or another go on 
in management. The job of getting along with people in business is 
not simple, however, for relations with superiors, peers, and subordi- 
nates are not identical, by any means. And there is a sharp distinction 
between the kinds of relations developed by line and staff executives. 

Recruiter Handy, for example, has found that the faculty of get- 
ting along with subordinates is basically different in these two major 
kinds of managers. According to Handy, the line man, who gives the 
orders on matters like production and sales, is interested in treating 
people so they will do what he wants them to, not so they'll necessarily 
like him; he is willing to ride roughshod over a man's feelings if he 
thinks that this will get the job done. The staff man, who advises and 
suggests, but doesn't give orders outside his department, usually con- 
siders it wise to treat people pleasantly so as to avoid friction, for he's 
apt to be a sensitive, analytical fellow. Budding young managers 
should mull over this distinction when they sit down to decide by 
what route they will try to reach the top ranks. 

This suggests some thoughts on the whole human-relations busi- 
ness that has so pervaded the thinking of the business schools and 
their young hopefuls. It can't be denied that pleasant human rela- 
tions in a company keep the machinery oiled — but that's their only 
business purpose, and it's not the main purpose of the company. So a 
manager who measures his success by the smoothness of his depart- 
ment's personal operations hasn't got his eye on the ball. And if he 
starts judging his success in business in terms of his relations with 
others in the company, he's also taking his eye off the ball. Just re- 
member that good relations are a sign of good management, not the 
cause nor the goal. If a man learns how to do his job well, and if he 
enjoys it, he'll find that the human relations will take care of them- 
selves. If he has to step on someone's toes to get the work done, he 
should go ahead and step, for he can be pretty sure that his boss isn't 
going to penalize him for getting the work out. If the boss scolds him 
for annoying a colleague, then maybe he'll learn how to be more adroit 
when he has to jiggle someone in order to get his work done. 

Perhaps the best advice on how to ''get along with people" is 
Handy's succinct commandment: ''Be gracious without being in- 
gratiating, and be pleasant without being pleasing." 

338 How to Be an Executive 

U a man hhmes the breaks, he hasn't got what it takes. No mat- 
ter how shrewdly — or how openly — an aspiring manager plays his 
career, he can't control it all the time. There is such a thing as ''the 
breaks" that can move him ahead much faster than his own work justi- 
fies — and the breaks can stymie him for years, too. Take the break 
that one general sales manager got a few years ago when he was as- 
signed to the company's Boston office as assistant district sales man- 
ager. Before he could move to Boston, the incumbent sales manager 
died, and he thus walked into the top job probably five years ahead of 
time. Conversely, a man slated to take on a sales manager's post re- 
cently was suddenly tapped for military duty — a rough break for him, 
but a good one, of course, for the man who was unexpectedly given 
the job. 

The best thing about bad breaks is that they never seem to stop 
those who really have the power to manage. When an executive seems 
to be sidetracked without much chance of rising further because of 
"a bad break," it is a pretty safe bet that even without such a break 
he would not have gone much further — or certainly shouldn't be per- 
mitted to. The breaks may be more frequent in big companies, but 
don't swallow that tale that a young man is liable to get lost in a big 
company, and needs a "good break" to get promoted. What so many 
forget is that the man who is going to be a real executive is the man 
who will make his own breaks. Even if some of his efforts misfire, the 
evidence of his own drive to get ahead is not going to escape attention 
long. What's more, in most big companies today the periodic appraisal 
of management trainees is added insurance against the burial of their 

Don't wear a hair shiit. So where does all the talk about staff 
and line work wind up? Isn't much of it, after all, simply irrelevant? If 
a man wants to be promoted, his clear course is to look at himself 
and decide what he wants to do, what kind of work really attracts him, 
and then give it everything he's got. Once he knows that it's staff 
work that draws him, that he wants to study and plan and develop 
new things, he should stay with it. But if he keeps wondering whether 
this or that staff job is getting him anywhere, and thinks his chances 
would be better in a line job, his energies will be divided, and the push 
to perform will be cut down. On the other hand, if it's line work he's 
drawn to, if he wants to see things accomplished and isn't fascinated by 

Management Man: Some oi His Problems 339 

ideas and analytical details, his best move is to stick to a manufactur- 
ing or selling job where the results show up clear and quick in costs 
and profits. Some staff experience will help him, of course, in a tech- 
nical way, but he shouldn't fool himself that technical know-how is 
necessary before he can become a top manager. 

As recruiter Handy says, the Puritan idea that a man should do 
what he doesn't like to do ''because it's good for him" is a pretty sure 
way for him to fall on his face. An ambitious young fellow ought to 
discover the kind of work that comes naturally to him and that he 
likes to do. This, of course, directly contradicts the advice of some 
executives to the effect that what a young man needs to develop him 
is a tough job that will serve as a hair shirt. The old idea that a man 
needs self-discipline on the job to get ahead is a favorite with those 
successful managers who have forgotten that it wasn't self-discipline 
but their enjoyment of doing any job — satisfying or routine — that 
took them to the top. Don't forget that the company is paying you to 
work for it and it's the job that counts and not you. A man's attitude 
toward a job can fog his whole thinking. If he starts working with the 
thought that it's going to be tough but, by George, it will be good 
for him, he's not likely to do it very well. 

An equally dangerous pitfall is to start worrying about whether the 
job will get you ahead fast, instead of working and forgetting your own 
attitude. Do the job — don't let it do you. Some jobs are going to be 
pleasanter than others, but the degree of your success will be in- 
versely proportional to your own self-centered broodings about it. So 
forget yourself and get down to work — and enjoy yourself. 



Where He Is Found 




Nearly Efty years after its birth, the Soviet Union has 
finally emerged with a manager, speciRcaUy trained ior in- 
dustry. He is generally an engineer and he is usually an 
important cog in the machine that is the Soviet State. 

Nearly 98 per cent of all top managers are members of the 
Communist Party; on the other hand, the workers are less 
well represented as members of the party — perhaps as little 
as 14 to 19 per cent. In the United States it has long since 
been discovered that the son of a professional man or man- 
ager is himself much more likely to become a manager than 
is the son of a worker. That is equally true in the Soviet 
Union. But the heart of the business operation in U.S. in- 
dustry and in Soviet Russia industry is sharply different. In 
Russia there could be no play on 'The Death of a Salesman'' 
for the salesman simply does not exist. The Soviet manager 
is haunted by a sellers market. There is no such thing as 
obsolescence; there is no such thing as advertising to move 
the products. What there is is one overwhelming need — 
production. The manager in Russia must Ell his monthly 
production quota, painfully, exactly, with a speciEc quantity 
and value demanded by the government. Repairs are neg- 
lected, risks are taken, violations are rampant, but the man- 

*From: The Red Executive (New York: Doubleday & Com- 
pany, Inc.) 1960. 


344 The Red Executive: The Managerial Game 

ager must make his quota. Materials are always scarce, so the 
good manager must substitute one material for another at a 
moment's notice. The manager has a longer production run 
oi one item and a far Jess Umited range oi products. 

David Granick has been studying Soviet iactory manage- 
ment since the 1930's. In the following selection from his 
hook The Red Executive he takes up all aspects of the man- 
agerial game from ulcers to bonuses, from job security to 
upward mobility. He creates the picture of the Russian man- 
ager — a man with power but without independence of thought 
in terms of major decisions; a man who must produce, but 
who is always toJd what and how much he must produce, 
but in these difRcult times, a man who in part may determine 
even our future — yours and mine. 

As Mr. Granick concludes ''Neither the Red Executive nor 
his Party official colleague is any longer the revolutionary of 
the 1920' s to whom ideology was everything. Both are men 
well established in the second most powerful country in the 
world with enormous personal stakes in the world stability 
and in peace. When Marx in the Communist manifesto ap- 
pealed for world revolutions, he addressed himself to the 
worker who had 'nothing to lose but his chains.' The Red 
Executive and the Party administrator have a great deal 
more to lose — and they know it well. Their attitude toward 
world revolution and other threats to peace must inevitably 
, bear the imprint of this knowledge." 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 34S 


re there any important differences between the 
American and Russian traditions of the management 
game? Let us turn to one area of similarity, and to three where vary- 
ing patterns and expectations have emerged. 


In both countries, management is a high-pressure game. Dele- 
gation of authority is an ideal on which all can agree, but the forty- 
hour week for managers still awaits an organizational revolution. In 
a 1957 survey of 355 company presidents, the American Management 
Association found that their average workweek ran between fifty-five 
and eighty-five hours a week. One American business school found 
that its graduates worked more hours a week the longer they were out 
of school. 

The Russian manager is certainly not far behind the American 
in all this. Stalin's death, however, liberated Russian executives from 
one particularly aggravating source of ulcers. Stalin himself was a 
night owl who believed in having the first long coffee break at 
midnight. The Kremlin staff, of course, had to establish its work habits 
around those of the boss. This meant that telephone calls from the 
Kremlin to ministers and branch chiefs would normally be made long 
before cockcrow. As this administrative system worked itself down 
the hierarchy, even plant directors became accustomed to receiving 
complaints and orders from Moscow at 2 a.m. 

One of the reforms after Stalin's death was to put the adminis- 
trative system back on the day shift. A decree was issued officially 
ending the night routine. The manager's day was to be somewhat 

While there are occasional American top executives who get 
their best ideas in the middle of the night, and feel called upon to 
communicate them immediately, it is a measure of the Russian system 
that the whole economy should have worked on this plan for a 
quarter of a centurv. 

346 The Red Executive: The ManageriaJ Game 


The first of the areas of difference between the national man- 
agement-game patterns is that of incentives for management. Both in 
Russia and in the United States, managerial incentives are very strong. 
Since top-management posts are not restricted to candidates qualifying 
through family or friendship connections, junior executives have op- 
portunities for major advancement. Income differences are sharp, and 
promotion up the managerial ladder can lead to sharp rises in income. 
In both countries, there are also strong non-monetary rewards for 
such advancement: greater power, prestige in the organization, pride 
in doing a good job. 

But while these underlying incentives are similar in the two 
economies, there is a sharp difference in the bonus system. In the 
United States, by and large, executives are compensated by means of 
their salaries. Performance is rewarded primarily through promotion 
rather than through bonuses. True, American companies do try to 
give their executives a stake in the firm's future. Stock purchases and 
stock options play this role. The size of end-of-the-year bonuses de- 
pends on the corporation's profit picture during the year. But these 
bonuses generally are not of major monetary significance, and they 
are usually only loosely connected with the work of the individual 
executive. One 1957 study of fifty companies showed that only half 
of them had executive-bonus plans at all, and even in these firms the 
bonuses averaged barely 10 to 20 per cent. Thus bonuses normally 
play a peripheral role in the manager's actual income, although they 
may seem much more important in anticipation. 

Managerial compensation in the Soviet Union is patterned within 
quite a different framework. Administrators apply quite literally the 
official slogan for '"socialist" distribution of income: ''to each accord- 
ing to his work." (It is an interesting commentary on the ability of 
people to take themselves seriously that the same principle can simul- 
taneously be put forth in different countries as a unique property of 
both capitalist and socialist ideology.) 

The Soviets have adopted the concept that earnings should be 
tied closely and immediately to production. For workers, the piece-rate 
system of payment reigns supreme. For managers, monthly bonuses 
make up a major part of income and are tied to the operations during 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 347 

that very same month of the production unit for which the executive 
is responsible. Thus, the method used for payment of executives is as 
close to a piece-rate system as the Soviets can get it. 

In one of the largest machine-building plants in the country, the 
director today receives a 50 per cent bonus each month in which the 
plant produces its target output. (However, if other aspects of the 
plant's accounts for the month are bad, this bonus will be reduced 
or completely eliminated.) For each 1 per cent by which the target 
output is exceeded, the director receives a further bonus of 6 per cent 
of his base salary. In a minor plant, the corresponding figures are 22 
and 2 per cent. 

Top-management personnel in plants under the Moscow City 
Council, I was told, noimally earn monthly bonuses of 25 to 50 per 
cent of their base salaries. In addition, quarterly bonuses are dis- 
tributed to the three best plants in each industry within the city. The 
limit to the regular monthly bonus is 100 per cent of the monthly base 
salary. Management above the plant level is rewarded by similar 

A Leningrad wine plant which I visited was especially interesting 
in this regard. Unlike the situation in most Soviet plants, there was 
no desire to increase output. Thus, although three quarters of all 
Soviet industrial workers are paid by piece rates, the workers in this 
particular plant were on straight time wages. 

Management, however, was on incentive pay even in this factory. 
The director's monthly bonus averaged 50 per cent of his base salary; 
shop superintendents averaged 30 per cent; and even foremen averaged 
40 per cent bonuses. These bonuses, of course, were linked to aspects 
of their work other than volume of output. 

The Soviet system of incentive pay for executives would seem to 
have two major consequences for managerial behavior. The first of 
these consequences is to put managers under high pressure. The 
month's take-home pay is riding on performance during that very 
month; a bare miss of the production target may cut a man's monthly 
pay by 30 to 50 per cent. Moreover, missing of the target — at least on 
an annual basis — is common. Data for all industry in the entire Soviet 
Union shows that, during the years 1951 through 1954, between 31 
and 40 per cent of all firms failed in each year to meet their annual 

In comparison, American management seems a low-pressure op- 

348 The Red Executive: The Managerial Game 

eration. Bonuses are much less important a part of executive earnings, 
and even these are generally awarded for a year's operations rather than 
monthly. Failure in one month can be made up during the next with- 
out affecting earnings. 

From the Soviet manager's point of view, this atmosphere of 
continuous strain is further worsened by the types of decisions which 
he may be forced to take in order to meet his monthly targets. With 
short-range goals at the forefront of his attention, the manager may 
well put off activities which do not have an immediate payoff. Main- 
tenance may be postponed; engineers can be taken out of design and 
put into production functions; the toolroom may be temporarily filled 
with production work. But the longer-run implications of these deci- 
sions are likely to be serious; the manager can only hope that next 
month he will be able to catch up. The channel between Scylla and 
Charybdis is a narrow one. 

In drawing these comparisons between American and Soviet 
management behavior, there is some slight danger that we are taking 
the word for the deed. It is possible that, in practice, Soviet executives 
are given much the same bonuses each month regardless of perform- 
ance. The likelihood of this seems remote, since figures are available 
which show a wide variation between plants as to the average bonus 
of technical personnel; in one plant, the 1955 bonus averaged no 
more than 2 per cent of the basic salary. Nevertheless, if full bonuses 
are normally paid, and if it is in fact highly exceptional for them to 
be withheld, then bonuses should in reality be treated simply as part 
of straight salary. 

In 1934, a study of a wide range of Russian industries showed that 
only 24 per cent of shop superintendents and 21 per cent of foremen 
earned bonuses within a specified month. However, for those who 
did receive bonuses, these averaged 32 per cent of total earnings for 
shop superintendents and 27 per cent for foremen. Thus bonuses were 
granted rather sparingly, but were substantial for those who did get 

In October 1934, bonuses made up roughly 4 per cent of total 
earnings of management in the plants studied. By 1940, this share 
had almost tripled. An explicit postwar policy of raising the portion 
of bonuses in managerial income had, by 1947, increased the ratio to 
an amount ranging from 21 per cent in the food industry to 51 per 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 349 

cent in the iron and steel industry. These 1947 figures seem reasonably 
representative of the current situation. 

Clearly, what seems to have occurred is not so much an increase 
in the amount of bonuses received by individual managers, as a sharp 
jump in the proportion of managers who receive bonuses at all in any 
given month. I do not know how far this expansion has gone, but 
some Polish experience illustrates an extreme form of regular bonus 

In one of the major Polish industries, bonuses are paid quarterly 
and make up 80 per cent of the basic salary of management. During 
the summer of 1958, I was told that only one or two plant directors 
— out of the seventy in this industry — fail to receive premiums in any 
given quarter. In addition, several more receive premiums which are 
less than the maximum permissible. But over 90 per cent of the 
directors receive maximum bonuses each quarter. Given these figures, 
the bonus would seem to be a normal portion of the director's salary, 
a share which can be withheld only as punishment for major failures. 
If there are Russian industries or geographic areas where behavior is 
parallel to this Polish experience, then our earlier implications would 
not hold for them. 


Our second area of difference in management patterns is the 
degree of job security felt by executives. 

Soviet management personnel in the 1930's — even before the 
period of the great purges — generally stayed at the same post for only 
a few years. During 1934 and 1936, Soviet agencies conducted broad 
studies of industrial management at various levels, running from shop 
superintendents to heads of entire industries. Treating each job cate- 
gory and each of the two years separately, the full range for manage- 
ment personnel who had held their posts more than five years was 
only 1 to 15 per cent. Forty to 65 per cent had been in the given post 
for a mere one to three years, and one sixth to one third of the total 
for less than one year. These rates of mobility clearly speeded up 
during the 1937-38 purge period, and then seem to have returned to 
the 1934-36 level during the remaining prewar years. 

350 The Red Executive: The Managerial Game 

Here, by American standards, was a fabulous executive turnover. 
One can imagine its negative impact on the feeling of job security 
among managerial personnel, as well as on their mental balancing of 
the long-run good of their organization versus short-run goals. True, a 
study of newspaper accounts of "next jobs" of replaced plant directors 
showed that only 40 per cent were dismissed or given positions which 
clearly represented demotion. The others were transferred to posts 
which may have been only lateral moves or even promotions. But even 
the 40-per-cent figure, a minimum estimate, represented a fantastically 
high probability of job failure for Soviet directors. While we have no 
similar data for other Soviet executives, there is no reason to believe 
that removal due to failure occurred any less frequently in their case. 

It is difficult to know whether the situation has changed in the 
postwar period. Soviet writers have always been critical of this high 
executive mobility. Managers and academic people with whom I 
spoke in the Soviet Union called it a thing of the past; while this may 
be true, it is also possible that their statements were distorted by the 
desire to paint a favorable picture. One professor, who has great 
authority in Soviet academic and management circles, stated as his 
impression that conditions are still much the same as they were 

The only recent statistics available are for the coal industry. In 
1955, Bulganin complained that the annual turnover rate for directors 
and chief engineers of pits in the U.S.S.R. as a whole was running 40 
to 50 per cent. In the year 1956 there was replacement of 25 per cent 
of all directors of coal pits in the major Ukrainian center of the 
Donbass. Here are statistics quite comparable to the prewar figures. 
Is it true, as I was told, that the coal industry is exceptional in this 
regard? I do not know. 

Whether or not Soviet executive turnover has slowed down com- 
pared to the 1930's, it seems reasonable to assume that it is still higher 
than American turnover. But if it has indeed been reduced, whatever 
its absolute rate may now be, the result is to make the work environ- 
ment of the Soviet manager more secure and friendly than that of 
two decades ago. This period of change is within the experience of 
many present managers. 

Much more important, the penalties for failure as a manager are 
today much less severe than they once were. At all times, with the 
possible exception of the worst purge days, most unsuccessful man- 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 351 

agers were simply demoted or fired. But always the question was there: 
Did industrial failure occur on purpose? Was the manager a conscious 
saboteur of the Soviet drive for industrialization or, if not this, was he 
in any case lax with underlings who themselves were saboteurs? The 
manager whose production failed to rise at close to the expected rate 
had to live with the fear of political accusations. 

This particular insecurity seems to have lost its raison d'etre with 
the last war, and has certainly ceased to be a factor since the death 
of Stalin. Removal of this danger goes a long way toward eliminating 
the trauma previously embedded in Soviet executive positions. 

Although American managers have never faced these risks of 
prison and execution, their degree of security has probably also in- 
creased in recent years. As companies have become larger and the 
proportion of managers who are executives in large corporations has 
grown, the buffeting of managers by the winds of the business cycle 
has diminished. More and more of them are employed by corporations 
which do not risk going to the wall or having to sharply slash their 
managerial staffs. The mild breezes of the 1940's and 1950's have 
made for a job security unknown in the tempestuous atmosphere of 
the 1930's. Increasingly, the business corporation has been able to 
take care of its own, finding a niche even for executives thought in- 
competent to handle responsibility. In this respect, American man- 
agers are like their Soviet counterparts in finding the world kinder 
than it was in the past. But the dimensions of the change in the two 
countries are far from the same. 


The third area of difference between American and Russian 
managers is the speed of upward mobility within management. Here 
the traditions are sharply distinguished. 

In the middle 1930's in Soviet industry, only 3 to 12 per cent of 
Soviet top management were over fifty years old. In 1928 in the 
United States, 57 per cent of top business executives were over fifty 
according to the authoritative Taussig and Joslyn study. In the Soviet 
Union, one third to one half were under forty; a bare 1 5 per cent were 
under forty in the United States. 

352 The Red Executive: The Managerial Game 

The reason for the youth of Soviet industrial management was 
clear enough. Industry was expanding at a fantastic rate at the same 
time that the managers inherited from the Tsarist regime were being 
replaced. Opportunities were unlimited for the able young Soviet 
engineer with an unblemished Communist Party record. The manage- 
ment game was a game for the youth of the nation. 

But Soviet industry of today presents an entirely different picture. 
True, it continues to grow rapidly — even more rapidly than American 
industry. But the sharp jump from scratch of the early 1930's cannot 
again be duplicated. Much more important, a trained managerial 
group already exists. There is no longer the need for promoting un- 
seasoned executives to top positions. The significance of these facts 
is that the ambitious Russian manager of today, comparing his situa- 
tion with that of the executive twenty years ago, sees his march up 
the managerial ladder slowed to a crawl. For his standard of compar- 
ison is the lightning movement of the thirties. His present prospects 
are entirely out of line with the management traditions of his country. 

American business advancement has also slowed down. In com- 
parison to the 57 per cent of American top managers who were over 
fifty years old in 1928, Warner and Abegglen found 67 per cent in 
1952. Those under forty had fallen from 15 per cent to 5 per cent. 
But this decline in the promotion rate is of quite a different magnitude 
from that seen in the Soviet Union. 

Thus, even if the average age of Soviet top managers should still 
be less than that of American management, Soviet junior and middle 
managers are probably more dissatisfied with promotion possibilities 
than are their American counterparts. They are quite ready to label 
a superior as an "old fogey," who is keeping them from their rightful 
place in the sun, when this official is still a good deal younger than 
the age which would win this appellation in the United States. 
Expectations are a product of traditions! 




The age oi management has spread to all parts of the 
world through the efforts of such international management 
specialists as WalJace Clark of the United States, Col. Lyndall 
F. Urwick of Great Britain, and Rolfe Nordling of France. 
Managers are found everywhere hut unfortunately there just 
are not enough of them. Highly industrialized nations are 
always searching for managers who can handle the complex 
businesses that are emerging. Where nations have only re- 
cently industrialized, an even more resourceful manager is 
needed to guide its budding industry. In France and Germany 
traditional management methods stand challenged by the 
opportunity and competition of the European Common 
Market. In Chile the ten-year development plan for in- 
dustrial expansion must have managers. In India many of 
the companies were once simply subsidiaries of foreign con- 
cerns. Now India must plan its own program in management 
training. Behind any such program, of course, are the human 
beings. In the story that follows we get a behind-the-scene 
glimpse into an unfamiliar world, because, if the Soviet 
Union is a good example of the managerial state in today's 
world, India is not. 

Caught in the uncomfortable embrace of the technological 
revolution, the Indian is in a painful state of conflict with 
what he feels is a different world; the material world of the 
West in contrast to his own spiritual world where contem- 

* From: The New Yorker, July 27, 1957. 

3S4 The Interview 

plation, old customs and ways oi liie are constantly posing 
conflicts that are erupting painfully in the twentieth century. 
There have never been enough jobs for the college student 
in India. Once educated, the Indian is embarrassed and un- 
comfortable to work with his hands. Yet the management 
world stretches out to him. It invites him as it does the 
character in this story, to he interviewed. This brilliant story 
by R. Prawer Jhabvala, one oi India's most important writers, 
shows all oi the anguish, confusion, and bewilderment oi a 
; man's initiation into a world in which he cannot End himseli. 

It is an oH-beat glance into a management age that seeks out 
all the peoples oi the world in our time. 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 355 


am always very careful of my appearance, so you could 
not say that I spent much more time than usual over 
myself that morning. I trimmed and oiled my mustache, but then I 
often do that; I always like it to look very neat, like Raj Kapoor's, the 
film star's. My sister-in-law and my wife were watching me, my sister- 
in-law smiling and resting one hand on her hip, and my wife only 
looking anxious. I knew why she was anxious. All night she had been 
whispering to me, saying, ''Get this job and take me away to live 
somewhere alone — only you and I and the children." I had answered 
'Tes," because I wanted to go to sleep. I don't know where and why 
she has taken this notion that we should go and live alone. 

When I had finished combing my hair, I sat on the floor, and my 
sister-in-law brought me my food on a tray. It may sound strange that 
my sister-in-law, and not my wife, should serve me, but it is so in our 
house. It used to be my mother who brought me my food, even after 
I was married; she would never allow my wife to do this for me, 
though my wife wanted to very much. Then, when my mother got 
so old, my sister-in-law began to serve me. I know that my wife feels 
deeply hurt by this, but she doesn't dare say anything. My mother 
really doesn't notice things any more; otherwise, she certainly would 
not allow my sister-in-law to serve me. She always used to be very 
jealous of this privilege, though she never cared who served my 
brother. Now she has become so old that she can hardly see anything, 
and most of the time she sits in the corner by the family trunks, and 
folds and strokes her pieces of cloth. For years now she has been 
collecting pieces of cloth. Some of them are very old and dirty, but 
she doesn't care. Nobody else is allowed to touch them, and once, I 
remember, there was a great quarrel because my wife had taken one 
of them to make a dress for our child. My mother shouted at her — it 
was terrible to hear her, but then she has never liked my wife — and 
my wife was very much afraid, and cried, and tried to excuse herself. 
I hit her across the face, not very hard and not because I wanted to, 
but only to satisfy my mother. It seemed to quiet the old woman, and 
she went back to folding and stroking her pieces of cloth. 

All the time I was eating, I could feel my sister-in-law looking at 

3S6 The Interview 

me and smiling. It made me uncomfortable. I thought she might be 
smiling because she knew I wouldn't get the job for which I had to 
go and be interviewed that day. I also knew I wouldn't get it, but I 
didn't like her smiling like that, as if she were saying, 'Tou see, you 
will always have to be dependent on us." It is clearly my brother's 
duty to keep me and my family until I can get work and contribute 
my own earnings to the household, so there is no need for smiling. 
But it is true that I am more dependent on her now than on anyone 
else. Lately, my sister-in-law has become more and more the most 
important person in the house, and now she even keeps the keys and 
the household stores. At first, I didn't like this. As long as my mother 
was managing the household, I was sure of getting many extra tidbits. 
But now I find that my sister-in-law is also very kind to me — much 
more kind than she is to her husband. It is not for him that she saves 
the tidbits, or for her children. She never says anything when she gives 
them to me, but she smiles, and then I feel confused and rather 
embarrassed. My wife has noticed what she does for me. 

I have found that women are usually kind to me. I think they 
realize that I am a rather sensitive person, and that therefore I must 
be treated gently. My mother has always treated me very gently. I am 
her youngest child, and I am fifteen years younger than my brother, 
who is next to me. (She did have several children in between us, but 
they all died.) Right from the time when I was a tiny baby, she 
understood that I needed greater care and tenderness than other 
children. She always made me sleep close beside her in the night, and 
in the day I usually sat with her and my grandmother and my 
widowed aunt, who were also very fond of me. When I got bigger, 
my father sometimes wanted to take me to help in his stall (he had a 
little grocer's stall, where he sold lentils and rice and cheap cigarettes 
and colored drinks in bottles), but my mother and grandmother and 
aunt never liked to let me go. Once, I remember, he did take me with 
him, and he made me pour some lentils out of paper bags into a tin. 
I rather liked pouring the lentils — they made such a nice noise as they 
landed in the tin — but suddenly my mother came and was very angry 
with my father for making me do this work. She took me home at 
once, and when she told my grandmother and aunt what had hap- 
pened, they stroked me and kissed me, and then they gave me a 
beautiful hot fritter to eat. The fact is, right from childhood I have 
been a person who needs a lot of peace and rest, and my food, too, 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 357 

has to be rather more dehcate than that of other people. I have often 
tried to explain this to my wife, but as she is not very intelligent, she 
doesn't seem to understand. 

Now my wife was watching me while I ate. She was squatting on 
the floor, washing our youngest baby; the child's head was in her lap, 
and all one could see of it was the back of its naked legs. My wife did 
not watch me as openly as my sister-in-law did, but from time to 
time she raised her eyes to me, looking very worried and troubled. 
She, too, was thinking about the job for which I was going to be 
interviewed, but she was anxious that I should get it. I cannot imagine 
why she wanted us to go and live alone, when she knew that it was 
not possible and never would be. 

And even if it were possible, I would not like it. I cannot leave 
my mother, and I do not think I would like to live away from my 
sister-in-law. I often look at her, and it makes me happy. Even though 
she is not young any more, she is still beautiful. She is tall, with big 
hips and eyes that flash. She often gets angry, and then she is the 
most beautiful of all. Her eyes look like fire and she shows all her 
teeth, which are very strong and white, and her head is proud, with 
the black hair flying loose. My wife is not beautiful at all. I was very 
disappointed in her when they first married me to her. Now I have 
grown used to her, and I even like her, because she is so good and 
quiet and never troubles me at all. But I don't think anybody else in 
our house likes her. My sister-in-law always calls her ''that beauty," 
and she makes her do all the most difficult household tasks. She 
shouts at her and abuses her, which is not right, because my wife has 
never done anything to her and has always treated her with respect. 
But I cannot interfere in their quarrels. 

I finished my meal and then I was ready to go, though I did not 
want to. My mother blessed me, and my sister-in-law looked at me 
over her shoulder, and her great eyes flashed with laughter. I did not 
look at my wife, who still sat squatting on the floor, but I knew she 
was pleading with me to get the job. Even as I walked down the stairs, 
I knew what would happen at the interview. I had been to so many 
during the past few months, and the same thing always happened. Of 
course, I know I have to work. My last position was in an insurance 
office, and all day they made me sit at a desk and write figures. What 
pleasure could there be for me in that? I am a very thoughtful person, 
and I always like to sit and think my own thoughts. But in that office 

3S8 The Interview 

my thinking sometimes caused me to make mistakes over the figures, 
and then they were very angry with me. I was always afraid of their 
anger, and I begged their forgiveness and admitted that I was much 
at fault. But the last time they would not forgive me again, although 
I begged many times and cried what a faulty, bad man I was and what 
good men they were, and how they were my mother and my father, 
and how I looked only to them for my life and the lives of my 
children. But when they still said I must go, I saw that the work there 
was really finished, so I stopped crying. I went into the cloakroom and 
combed my hair and folded my soap in my towel, and then I took 
my money from the accountant without a word and left the office 
with my eyes lowered. But I was no longer afraid, because what is 
finished is finished, and my brother still had work and probably one 
day I would get another job. 

Ever since then, my brother has been trying to get me into 
government service. He himself is a clerk in government service, and 
enjoys many advantages. Every five years, he gets an increase of ten 
rupees in his salary. He has ten days' sick leave in the year, and when 
he retires he will get a pension. It would be good for me to have such 
a job, but it is difficult to get, because first there is an interview, at 
which important people sit at a desk and ask many questions. Because 
I am afraid of them, I cannot understand properly what they are 
saying, but I answer what I think they want me to answer. But it 
seems that my answers are somehow not the right ones, because they 
have not given me a job. 

When I arrived at the place where the interview was, I had to 
walk down many corridors and ask directions from many peons before 
I could find the right room. The peons were all rude to me, because 
they knew what I had come for. They lounged back on benches 
outside the oflEces, and when I asked them, they looked me up and 
down before answering, and sometimes made jokes about me to one 
another. But I was very polite to them, for even though they were 
only peons, they had uniforms and jobs and belonged here, whereas 
I did not. At last I came to the room where I had to wait. Many 
others were already sitting there, on chairs drawn up against the wall 
all around the room. No one was talking. I found a chair, and after a 
while an official came in with a list and asked if anyone else had come. 
I got up and he asked my name, and then he looked down the list 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 359 

and made a tick with a pencil. ''Why are you late?" he asked me 
very sternly. I begged pardon and told him the bus in which I had 
come had had an accident. He said, ''When you are called for an 
interview, you have to be here exactly on time, or your name is 
crossed off the list.'' I begged pardon again and asked him very humbly 
please not to cross me off this time. I knew that all the others were 
listening, even though none of them looked at us. He said some more 
things to me very scornfully, but in the end he said, "Wait here. 
When your name is called, you must go in at once." 

I didn't count the number of people waiting in the room, but 
there were a great many. Perhaps there was one job free, perhaps two 
or three. As I sat there, I began to feel the others all hoping anxiously 
that they might get the job, so I became worried and anxious, too. I 
stared around and tried to put my mind on something else. The walls 
of the room were painted green halfway up and white above that, and 
were quite bare. There was a fan turning from the ceiling, but it 
didn't give much breeze. An interview was going on behind the big 
door. One by one, we would all be called in there and have the door 
closed behind us. 

I began to worry desperately. It always happens like this. When 
I come to an interview, I never want the job at all, but when I see all 
the others waiting and worrying, I want it terribly. Yet at the same 
time I know, deep down, that I don't want it. I know it would only 
be the same thing over again: writing figures and making mistakes and 
then being afraid when they found out. And there would be a superior 
officer in my office to whom I would have to be very deferential, and 
every time I saw him or heard his voice I would begin to be afraid 
that he had found out something against me. For weeks and months 
I would sit and write figures, getting wearier of it and wearier, and 
thinking my own thoughts more and more. Then the mistakes would 
come, and my superior officer would be angry. 

My brother never makes mistakes. For years he has been sitting 
in the same office, writing figures, being deferential to his superior 
officer, and concentrating very hard on his work. But, nevertheless, he 
is afraid of the same thing — a mistake that will make them angry with 
him and cost him his job. I think it is right for him to be afraid, for 
what would become of us all if he also lost his job? It is not the same 
with me. I believe I am afraid to lose my job only because that is a 
thing of which one is expected to be afraid. When I have actually lost 

360 The Interview 

it, I am really relieved. But this is not surprising, because I am very 
different from my brother; even in appearance I am different. As I 
have said, he is fifteen years older than I, but even when he was my 
age, he never looked as I do. My appearance has always attracted 
others, and right up to the time I was married my mother used to 
stroke my hair and my face and say many tender things to me. Once, 
when I was walking on my way to school through the bazaar, a man 
called to me very softly, and when I came he gave me a ripe mango, 
and said, ''You are beautiful, beautiful." He looked at me in an odd, 
kind way, and wanted me to go with him to his house, in another 
part of the city. I love wearing fine clothes — especially very thin white 
muslin kurtas that have been freshly washed and starched, and are 
embroidered at the shoulders. Sometimes I also use scent — a fine 
khas smell — and my hair oil also smells of khas. Several years ago, just 
after I was married, there was a handsome teen-age girl who lived in 
the tailor's shop opposite our house and who used to wait for me and 
follow me whenever I went out. But it is my brother, not I, who is 
married to a beautiful wife, and this has always seemed most unfair. 
The big closed door opened and the man who had been in there 
for an interview came out. We all looked at him, but he walked out 
in a great hurry, with a preoccupied expression on his face. I could 
feel the anxiety in the other men getting stronger, and mine, too. The 
official with the list came, and we all looked up at him. He read off 
another name, and the man whose name was called jumped up from 
his chair. He started forward, but then he was brought up short by his 
dhoti, which had got caught on a nail in the chair. As soon as he 
realized what had happened, he became very agitated, and when he 
tried to disentangle himself, his fingers shook so much that he could 
not get the dhoti off the nail. The official watched him coldly and 
said, ''Hurry, now! Do you think the gentlemen will wait for as long 
as you please?" In his confusion, the man dropped his umbrella, and 
then he tried to disentangle the dhoti and pick up the umbrella at 
the same time. When he could not get the dhoti loose, he became so 
desperate that he pulled at the cloth and ripped it free. It was a pity 
to see the dhoti torn, because it was a new one, which he was prob- 
ably wearing for the first time and had put on specially for the inter- 
view. He clasped his umbrella to his chest and scurried into the 
interviewing room with his dhoti hanging about his legs and his face 
swollen with embarrassment and confusion. 

Mnnagement Man: Where He Is Found 361 

We all sat and waited. The fan, which seemed to be a very old 
one, made a creaking noise. One man kept cracking his finger joints — 
tik, we heard, tile. All the rest of us kept very still. From time to 
time, the official with the list came in and walked around the room 
very slowly, tapping his list, and then we all looked down at our feet, 
and the man even stopped cracking his fingers. A faint and muffled 
sound of voices came from behind the closed door. Sometimes a voice 
was raised, but even then I could not make out what was being said, 
though I strained hard. 

My previous interview was very unpleasant for me. One of the 
people who were interviewing took a dislike to me and shouted at 
me very loudly. He was a large, fat man who wore an English suit. His 
teeth were quite yellow, and when he became angry and shouted he 
showed them all, and even though I was very upset, I couldn't help 
looking at them and wondering how they had become so yellow. I 
don't know why he was angry. He shouted, ''Good God, man! Can't 
you understand what's said to you?" It was true I could not under- 
stand, but I had been trying hard to answer well. What else did he 
expect of me? Probably there was something in my appearance he did 
not like. It happens that way sometimes — they take a dislike to you, 
and then, of course, there is nothing you can do. 

Now the thought of the man with the yellow teeth made me 
more anxious than ever. I need great calm in my life. Whenever any- 
thing worries me too much, I have to cast the thought of it off 
immediately; otherwise, there is a danger that I may become ill. I felt 
now as if I were about to become very ill. All my limbs were itching, 
so that it was difficult for me to sit still, and I could feel blood rushing 
into my brain. I knew it was this room that was doing me so much 
harm — the waiting, silent men, the noise from the fan, the official 
with the list walking up and down, tapping his list or striking it 
against his thigh, and the big closed door behind which the interview 
was going on. I felt a great need to get up and go away. I didnt want 
the job. I wasn't even thinking about it any more — only about how 
to avoid having to sit here and wait. 

Now the door opened again and the man with the torn dhoti 
came out. He was biting his lip and scratching the back of his neck, 
and he, too, walked straight out without looking at us at all. The big 
door of the interviewing room was left slightly open for a moment, 
and I could see a man's arm in a white shirt-sleeve, and part of the 

362 The Interview 

back of his head. His shirt was very white and of good material, and 
his ears stood away from his head, so that one could see how his 
spectacles fitted over the backs of his ears. I suddenly realized that 
this man would be my enemy, and that he would make things very 
difficult for me, and perhaps even shout at me. Then I knew it was 
no use for me to stay there. The official with the list came back, and 
a panic seized me that he would read out my name. I rose quickly, 
murmuring, 'Tlease excuse me — bathroom," and went out. I heard 
the official with the list call after me ''Hey, Mister, where are you 
going?" so I lowered my head and walked faster. I would have started 
to run, but that might have caused some kind of suspicion, so I just 
walked as fast as I could down the stairs and right out of the building. 
There, at last, I was able to stop and take a deep breath, and I felt 
much better. 

I stood still only for a minute, and then I started off again, 
though not in any particular direction. There were a great many clerks 
and peons moving past me in the street, hurrying from one office 
building to another, with files and papers under their arms. Everyone 
seemed to have something to do. In the next block, I found a little 
park, and I was glad to see people like myself, who had nothing to do, 
sitting under the trees or in any other patch of shade they could find. 
But I couldn't sit there; it was too close to the office blocks, and any 
moment someone might come up and say to me, ''Why did you go 
away?" So I walked farther. I was feeling quite lighthearted with relief 
over having escaped the interview. 

At last I came to a row of eating stalls, and I sat down on a 
wooden bench outside one of them, which was called the Paris Hotel, 
and asked for tea. I felt badly in need of tea, and since I intended to 
walk part of the way home, I was in a position to pay for it. There 
were two Sikhs sitting at the end of my bench, who were eating with 
great appetite, dipping their hands very rapidly into brass bowls. Be- 
tween mouthfuls, they exchanged remarks with the proprietor of the 
Paris Hotel, who sat high up inside his stall, stirring a big brass pot 
in which he was cooking the day's food. He was chewing a betel leaf, 
and from time to time he very skillfully spat the red betel juice far 
over the cooking pot and onto the ground between the wooden 
benches and tables. 

I sat quietly at my end of the bench and drank my tea. The food 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 363 

smelled good, and it made me realize that I was hungry. I made a 
calculation, and decided that if I walked all the way home, I could 
afford a little cake. (I am very fond of sweet things.) The cake was 
not very new, but it had a beautiful piece of bright orange peel inside 
it. What I wanted to do when I got home was to lie down at once 
and not wake up again until the next morning. That way, no one 
would be able to ask me any questions. By not looking at my wife at 
all I would be able to avoid the question in her eyes. I would not look 
at my sister-in-law, either, but she would be smiling, that I knew — 
leaning against the wall, with her hand on her hip, and looking at me 
and smiling. She would know that I had run away, but she would 
not say anything. 

Let her know! What did it matter? It was true I had no job and 
no immediate prospect of getting one. It was true that I was depend- 
ent on my brother. Everybody knew that. There is no shame in it; 
there are many people without jobs. And she had been so kind to me 
up till now that there was no reason she should not continue to be 
kind to me. 

The Sikhs at the end of the bench had finished eating. They 
licked their fingers and belched deeply, the way one does after a good 
meal. They started to joke and laugh with the proprietor. I sat quiet 
and alone at my end of the bench. Of course, they did not laugh and 
joke with me, for they knew that I was superior to them; they work 
with their hands, whereas I am a lettered man who does not have to 
sweat for a living but sits on a chair in an office and writes figures and 
can speak in English. My brother is very proud of his superiority, and 
he has great contempt for carpenters and mechanics and such people. 
I, too, am proud of being a lettered man, but when I listened to the 
Sikhs laughing and joking, it occurred to me that perhaps their life 
was happier than mine. It was a thought that had come to me before. 
There is a carpenter who lives downstairs in our house, and though he 
is poor, there is always great eating in his house, and many people 
come, and I hear them laughing and singing and even dancing. The 
carpenter is a big, strong man, and he always looks happy, never 
anxious and sick with worry the way my brother does. To be sure, he 
doesn't wear shoes and clean white clothes as my brother and I do, 
nor does he speak any English, but all the same he is happy. I don't 
think he gets weary of his work, and he doesn't look like a man who is 
afraid of his superior officers. 

364 The Interview 

I put the ignorant carpenter out of my mind, and thought again 
of my sister-in-law. If I were kind to her, I decided, she would really 
be kind to me someday. I became quite excited at this idea. Then I 
would know whether she is as soft and yet as strong as she looks. And 
I would know about her mouth, with the big, strong teeth. Her tongue 
and palate are very pink — just the color of the pink satin blouse she 
wears on festive occasions. And this satin has often made me think 
also of how smooth and warm her skin would feel. Her eyes would be 
shut and perhaps there would be tears on the lashes, and she would 
be smiling, but in a different sort of way. I became very excited when 
I thought of it, but then the excitement passed and I was sad. I 
thought of my wife, who is thin and not beautiful, and is without 
excitement. But she does whatever I want and always tries to please 
me. I thought of her whispering to me in the night, 'Take me away 
to live somewhere alone — only you and I and the children.'' That can 
never be, and so always she will have to be unhappy. 

Sitting on that bench, I grew more and more sad when I thought 
of her being unhappy, because it is not only she who is unhappy but 
I also, and many others. Everywhere there is unhappiness. I thought of 
the man whose new dhoti had been torn and who would now have 
to go home and sew it carefully, so that the tear would not be seen. 
I thought of all those other men sitting and waiting to be interviewed, 
all but one or two of whom would not get the job for which they had 
come, and so would have to go on to another interview and another 
and another, to sit and wait and be anxious. And my brother, who has 
a job but is frightened that he will lose it — and my mother, who is so 
old that she can only sit on the floor and stroke her pieces of cloth — 
and my sister-in-law, who is warm and strong and does not care for 
her husband. Yet life could be so different. When I go to the cinema 
and hear the beautiful songs they sing, I know how different it could 
be, and also sometimes when I sit alone and think my thoughts, I have 
a feeling that everything could be truly beautiful. But now my tea 
was finished and also my cake, and I wished I had not bought them, 
because it was a long way to walk home and I was tired. 




S.O.P.H.I.A. glistened with Greek elegance^ thought 
the ohginatois oi the name. The initials stood for The So- 
ciety of the Overseas Promotion oi Horticulture, Industry, 
and Agriculture. The Ectional S.O.P.H.I.A. is a giant 
international organization portrayed by Pierre BouJIe, author 
of The Bridge Over The River Kwai, with that accuracy of 
detail that could come only from his own personal experience 
as a rubber planter in Malaya. Trained as an engineer, Mr. 
BouUe is thoroughly at home in the management world of 
the jungle. This time, however, it is not the corporate jungle 
of the cities of the world but the true jungle of Malaya where 
time is all eternity and motion is best not undertaken at all. 
Under these adverse circumstances the organization S.O.P. 
H.I.A. sent out a time and motion expert to analyze how 
best the rubber could be extracted from the trees. With 
wicked accuracy Mr. BouIIe gives a behind-the-scenes ex- 
ploration of two facets of management depicted by those 
pioneers, Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Frederick Winslow 

Motion study, fatigue study, skill study, and time study are 
methods of measurement under the science of management, and 
without them it is absolutely impossible to find the One Best 
Way to do work, or to make and enforce the super-standards and 

* From: S.O.P.H.I.A. (New York: The Vanguard Press) 1959. 


366 Time and Motion Study Under the Malayan Sun 

programs foi the benefit oi all. These have application in every 
field, are closely related, and must receive attention at the 
proper periods in the installation of scientific methods of man- 

These pioneer words by Frank B. Gihreth in Science in 
Management for the One Best Way to do Work framed a 
concept that had a major impact on management and pro- 
duction throughout the world. Together with Mr. Taylor's 
comments below about scientiBc management j they are welJ- 
learned scripture lessons for a management age. 

In the testimony that Mr. Taylor delivered before the 
Special Committee oi the House oi Representatives to In- 
vestigate Taylor and Other Systems oi Shop Management as 
early as 1912, he declared: 

> ' Now, in its essence, scientiHc management involves a com- 

plete mental revolution on the part oi the woikingman engaged 
in any particular establishment or industry — a complete mental 
revolution on the part oi these men as to their duties toward 
their work, toward their iellow men, and toward their employees. 
And it involves the equally complete mental revolution on the 
. ' part of those on the management's side — the ioreman, the super- 

intendent, the owner oi the business, the board oi directors — a 
complete mental revolution on their part as to their duties toward 
their iellow workers in the management, toward their workmen, 
'. . and toward all oi their daily problems. And without this com- 

plete mental revolution on both sides scientiHc management does 

, not exist. 

In both instances these words have resulted in deeds around 

■ , the world. They have spurred on production, assembly lines, 

materials handling — but in this amusing anecdote by Pierre 

^. BouUe, they get strangled in the vines oi the Malayan jungle. 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 367 


r. Bedoux, who was a technical engineer, a speciaHst 
in methods improvement, and a French member of 
the international firm of ''Ratio/' landed in the British possession of 
Malaya, a country where poets in sarongs immortalized the Universal 
Soul in the shade of the coconut trees, with a view to modernizing 
the tapping of Hevea hiesilensis, analyzing the movements of Rama- 
samy the Tamil tapper, and co-ordinating these into a stylized and 
economic pattern. 

Maille, whose time was now divided between the group of work- 
shops at Sungei Ikan and the Technical Department of the Agency, 
was detailed to follow Mr. Bedoux's experiments and acquaint himself 
with his methods. 

These were explained and described at great length in a bulky 
set of documents Mr. Bedoux had dispatched in advance. They were 
based on the ''Ratio" principle of chronometry and evaluation of 
human labor, a principle that had enraptured all the big industrialists 
of the New World and had even eclipsed the theories of Taylor, 
making them seem rudimentary by comparison. 

According to the "Ratio" school, simple chronometry as prac- 
ticed hitherto should be regarded as an error, or at least an out-dated 
imperfection. It was essential, but by no means sufficient in itself. The 
"Ratio" timekeeper, however, while recording the partial "timings," 
simultaneously awarded the worker a so-called "coefficient of activity" 
for each of his movements, which he inscribed opposite the timings in 
a separate column. This coefficient, the precise and rapid evaluation 
of which required sustained attention and long experience on the part 
of the analyst, made it possible, by means of a simple mathematical 
formula, to convert the actual duration of each movement into a 
fictitious "ideal" duration independent of the particular circumstances 
governing the experiment. 

This was how Mr. Bedoux explained the method to Gladkoff and 
Maille during their first tour of inspection of the Sungei Ikan planta- 
tion. Stout, who was acting as temporary director since Uncle Law's 
transfer to the Agency, had attached himself to this group of tech- 

368 Time and Motion Study Under the Malayan Sun 

Mr. Bedoux was a small man of about forty, with spectacles 
perched on the tip of his nose and the pale pink complexion of the 
town dweller, whose incipient embonpoint was emphasized by a pair 
of shorts he had bought the day before in Kuala Getah. At the 
moment he seemed rather dismayed at the prospect of exercising his 
talents in a temperature of ninety-five in the shade and of grappling 
with chocolate-colored laborers, both male and female, the former 
wearing nothing but a loincloth, the latter a tattered sari that con- 
cealed only one breast at a time. Perhaps he was also tired after his 
journey and slightly bewildered by the way Mr. Chaulette had wel- 
comed him to Kuala Getah. The Managing Director had ahowed him 
barely enough time to have a shower before bundling him into a car 
and sending him off to Sungei Ikan. 

Conscious of being observed by four white men, including the 
director of the plantation and a stranger with spectacles, Ramasamy 
set to work with a will and displayed his talents. He shifted his bag, 
tensed his muscles, and took a flying leap. Mr. Bedoux watched 
him closely. 

'That," said Gladkoff, who was only too pleased to show that 
Sophia was no novice in matters of streamlining, ''that is the result 
of our initial inquiry into the tapping process. The unproductive time 
is thereby reduced to a minimum.'' 

Mr. Bedoux smiled. 

"I see," he murmured. "Forgive me a moment, will you?" 

He opened his briefcase and took out a small metal board to 
which were attached some sheets of paper divided into columns. A 
precision chronometer was fitted into the top lefthand corner. A 
circular hole big enough for a man's thumb enabled the board to be 
held in comfort, rather like a palette, and was so placed that the ball 
of the thumb came directly over the stop watch. Stout opened his 
mouth as though about to say something, but changed his mind and 
kept silent. Gladkoff and Maille observed the procedure intently. 

Without taking his eyes off Ramasamy, Mr. Bedoux set the 
watch in motion, stopped it, then started it again; and after each 
operation he jotted down some figures in the columns. Ramasamy 
watched him out of the corner of his eye and began to look a little 
less anxious. He had already heard about the chronometer. The Tech- 
nical Department had once carried out some similar experiments on 
the Bangar Estate and the news had quickly spread to all the other 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 369 

Sophia plantations. The energy he put into his third leap gave an 
indication of his relief. 

''We must draw a close distinction," said Mr. Bedoux, ''between 
speed and haste, between activity and agitation. It's just as I thought. 
We all make the same mistake to start with. The effective activity of 
this ... of this fellow is appreciably decreased by these physical jerks 
of his. It's a great deal less than it should be. The basic error of all 
novices in the field of modernization. Speed should be attained by the 
co-ordination of every movement and not by an acceleration that 
takes no account of some of them. Look, now he's had to slow down 
to catch his breath. . . ." 

Confident that he had given a sufficient display of enthusiasm, 
Ramasamy was now almost dozing off, lost in some private day- 
dream of his own as he moved at a snail's pace around the tree. 

''Ni, badoua, odi po/" Stout suddenly barked out. Which, being 
interpreted, meant: "Get a move on, you stinking little pimp!" 

Recognizing the familiar words, Ramasamy took another flying 
leap into the air. The kanganf of the gang, who was following the 
experiment at a respectful distance, was jerked back to reality and 
promptly elaborated on the spirit of these words at considerable 

"That's enough for this fellow," said Mr. Bedoux. "Let's move 
on to another. At this initial stage I'd like to get as general an im- 
pression as possible, so as to be able to draw up a rational program. 
As a matter of fact, I think I know already what's needed." 

They continued on their rounds, and Mr. Bedoux timed the 
movements of several other tappers. They reacted as would any other 
workmen in the world when confronted with the analyst's little board. 
The older ones gave a shrug and went on working in the usual way. 
Others displayed an exaggerated zeal and poured with sweat. Many 
of them felt that no good could come of this inquisition and therefore 
dragged out every movement interminably. Mr. Bedoux went on 
smiling and nodding his head with a knowing air, and after each 
pause jotted down a fresh lot of figures. Stout, who was beginning to 
show signs of irritation, interrupted him several times. At one point, 
after one of the subjects had shown even greater reluctance than the 
others, he had intervened with a certain forcefulness, seizing the man 
by the shoulders and shaking him as hard as he could. Mr. Bedoux 
motioned him to stop. 

370 Time and Motion Study Under the Malayan Sun 

''Let him be, let him be. That's exactly what Vm here for — to 
work out a technique that will enable you to avoid using brutal 
methods like that. They only have a transitory effect, and in the end 
result in a falling-off of work. The 'Ratio' method eliminates these 
perpetual reprimands, which only irritate the overseer and tire out the 

"But that fellow is pulling your leg!" Stout protested. 

Gladkoff translated this for the benefit of Mr. Bedoux, who was 
ignorant of the finer shades of the English language. 

"That doesn't matter at all, I assure you. I'm used to it. You're 
bound to come up against a certain amount of resistance to begin 
with. It's a question of patience. You've got to explain things carefully 
and make them understand that you're not trying to exploit them 
but, on the contrary, you're out to help them. They usually end up 
by thanking you for your pains. . . ." 

At this point, having put his board back in his briefcase, Mr. 
Bedoux told them the story of Factory X in the north of France, 
where the workmen, after threatening to go on strike and even do 
him bodily harm, had submitted a petition two months later asking 
to have him permanently attached to the firm. They had realized that, 
by practicing his methods, they expended far less effort and earned a 
great deal more. The employer, for his part, had recorded a thirty-per- 
cent reduction on his cost price. 

"I am well aware," Mr. Bedoux went on, "that tapping is a tricky 
process that gives rise to a number of hitherto unknown problems. 
What we've got to do is to study those problems closely, one after 
the other. There is also the question of the labor force, which is 
certainly rather primitive; but that won't interfere with the final out- 
come. From what I've seen this morning, I think I can guarantee a 
reduction of twenty per cent in your tapping costs." 

"Twenty per cent?" exclaimed Stout, after Maille had translated 
the expert's opinion into English. 

"Twenty per cent," Maille repeated. 

"Twenty per cent," Mr. Bedoux confirmed. 

"Maille," Stout exclaimed, speaking very quickly, "if only a 
quarter of this fellow's promises eventually come true, I swear to 
wander about myself with a chronometer and a board. . . . Mean- 
while, just look at that fellow over there! Ni, badoua, odi por 

Intrigued by the white men's conversation, for the last five 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 371 

minutes Ramasamy had been pretending to repair the broken sup- 
port of a latex cup. He now gave such a jump that he knocked it 
over and the white hquid poured all over the ground. Mr. Bedoux 
gave a smile and looked at Stout triumphantly. 

Mr. Bedoux wiped the sweat from his brow, which now bore the 
marks of the Malayan sun, and spoke to Ramasamy in an out- 
landish jargon. 

''No good. Not like that. Wipe cup with left hand. Now let go 
of chisel. No! I say. Look me.'' 

Mr. Bedoux now had a gang of his own, an experimental gang 
operating solely under his surveillance, by means of which he was 
to demonstrate the excellence. of his principles to the planting world. 

''No! I say. Blockhead! Put down cup with right hand . . . then 
hold chisel in position . . . Oh, what a brute! He still doesn't under- 
stand! Look at him, Mr. Maille! I ask you, just look at him!" 

Maille, for whom these sessions were a welcome diversion, did 
his best to hide the delight he derived from the spectacle of the 
Bedoux-Ramasamy combination cavorting through a rubber planta- 
tion. After displaying astonishing patience, Mr. Bedoux was now 
beginning to show signs of exasperation at Ramasamy's singular re- 
luctance to allow himself to be streamlined. 

"Look at him holding the chisel between his thumb and fore- 
finger like a fountain pen! That's not how I told him to do it! If I've 
explained once, I've explained a hundred times!" 

This was true. Mr. Bedoux had been unsparing in his explana- 
tions and his efforts. 

Before starting the experiment, the "guinea pig" gang had been 
mustered in front of the main office. There, a Tamil conductor had 
translated the speech delivered by the representative of the firm of 
"Ratio." Stout had insisted on attending the meeting in person, to 
demonstrate the good will of the whole plantation staff. 

The speech had opened with a few simple statements about 
methods improvement in general. Maille, who first had to translate 
Mr. Bedoux's French into English for the benefit of the conductor- 
interpreter, noticed the latter hesitate for a moment before rendering 
the words "methods improvement" and "taylorization" into Tamil. 
His embarrassment was short-lived. He found perfect equivalents in 

"^11 Time and Motion Siudy Under the Malayan Sun 

the expressions "reshoonlishoon" and ''teehishoon/' with the stress 
on the last syllable according to the rule of Tamil phonetics. Rama- 
samy looked as though he understood, and nodded his head in 

Then Mr. Bedoux had embarked on the list of useless gestures 
and movements to be avoided, not omitting to show what he meant 
by giving a personal demonstration. This first part had lasted quite 
a long time, during which Ramasamy squatted comfortably on his 
haunches with an expression of wide-eyed curiosity, the same ex- 
pression Maille had noticed on his face when he had seen a motion 
picture shown at Sungei Ikan. Each time Mr. Bedoux paused, Rama- 
samy made a gesture of encouragement. 

Eventually Mr. Bedoux got down to the heart of the matter and 
began to explain his method, once again doing his best to make it 
clear by means of a personal demonstration. With untiring patience 
he showed how to give the chisel the optimum angle of thirty degrees 
with the face at a tangent to the trunk of the tree, and how the 
sequence of gestures had to follow closely the sequence indicated, in 
which the right hand had its own particular field of activity and did 
not encroach on the functions of the left. Finally he showed how the 
movement of the feet around the tree should be co-ordinated with 
the manual gestures. 

When he had finished, the coolies, who had given evidence of 
increasing interest and even of enthusiasm during this last perform- 
ance, looked at one another and conversed in an undertone for a 
moment or two. Maille felt they were consulting one another to 
know whether they should applaud. This proved to be correct. A 
furious glance from Stout and a few curses from the conductor put 
an end to this display just in time. 

Mr. Bedoux had then asked the interpreter to make sure that 
everyone had understood. The air was immediately rent by vehement 
cries of affirmation. 

"Amah! Amah/ Am'ange/"* 
, Mr. Bedoux, who was nothing if not conscientious, had put him- 
self at their disposal to go over all the tricky points once more. There 
had been a second whispered consultation, then the Jcangani inter- 
mediary had said that they would feel a little happier if Mr. Bedoux 

u' *"YesI Yes! Yes, sir!" 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 373 

would be good enough to repeat the experimental demonstration so 
that no detail should escape them. 

Delighted at seeing them evince such profound interest, Mr. 
Bedoux had once again illustrated his system. Then, while Stout ap- 
peared to be lost in a brown study, he had given a third performance 
for the benefit of two or three fellows with thicker skulls than the rest. 

'In the whole of my career/' Mr. Bedoux had declared, '1 have 
never seen workmen so well disposed as these. Really, the attention 
and understanding they have shown augur the most promising re- 

''Well,'' Stout had broken in abruptly, "I suppose that will be 
all for the moment. Now, Maille, would you please ask Mr. Bedoux 
if he would like me to add a few personal words of advice — for in- 
stance, to warn these fellows that they'll have me to reckon with if 
they don't comply with his instructions to the letter." 

"On no condition!" Mr. Bedoux had strongly protested. "On the 
contrary, I want this team to work henceforth under my direct sur- 
veillance and without any intervention from the plantation staff. Mr. 
Maille will accompany me as usual, but solely as an observer. Please 
understand. I'm not trying to belittle the planters' methods, but this 
work is completely different and there must be no outside influence 
over the men until they get the hang of it. In fact, what I'd like you 
to tell them is this: as of today they'll be working under my orders, 
and the only reprimands they'll get will come from me." 

Maille saw that Stout was profoundly disturbed. 

"Do you mean to say he really wants you to tell the coolies that?" 

Mr. Bedoux declared that this condition was essential to success. 

"Well, go ahead then. But just a moment, Maille. Tell him from 
me that on no condition will this gang have the slightest contact with 
any other. They will be kept isolated in a corner of the plantation, in 
Block 5b, which is going to be cut down at the end of the year for 
replanting. It's in Powell's division. I'll give instructions for him to 
keep well out of the way." 

Mr. Bedoux had been delighted with these arrangements, and 
the experiment had been launched. 

"It's awful, Mr. Maille. Look at them. They're waddling about 
like a lot of ducks!" 

Block 5b was situated on the edge of the jungle. The monkeys in- 

374 Time and Motion Study Under the Malayan Sun 

vaded it frequently and chased one another from tree to tree in a 
series of fantastic leaps, and it was one of the few remaining spots 
where you could still come across the tracks of a panther in the early 
morning. From the very first day, against a backdrop of the equatorial 
forest and with a cast consisting of lizards and red squirrels, some 
strange scenes had been enacted in this dark-green theater. Maille had 
observed the development of the Bedoux-Ramasamy combination 
with an interest that was all the more profound since he had been for- 
bidden to intervene. He had often wondered at the depths of ab- 
surdity to which a Tamil tapper's fantasy could descend when it came 
up against the speculative reasoning powers of the West. He felt there 
was no new extravagance in which Ramasamy could indulge in his 
grotesque distortion of the pure gesture advocated by Mr. Bedoux. 
Yet each time, Ramasamy drew on his primitive brain for some still 
more fantastic interpretation. 

He had seen Ramasamy tackle a tree in attitudes that defied the 
most twisted imagination: sideways, backwards, crouching, kneeling, 
on tiptoe like a ballet dancer, or with both arms raised above his head 
as though he were being covered by a firearm. He had seen him try 
to keep his balance standing on one foot and at the same time try to 
wipe the cup clean with the nimble big toe of the other while both 
hands, armed with the chisel, flayed the air like a murderous windmill. 
He had seen him tear off strips of rubber and wave them wildly 
round his head while launching into a sort of Indian war dance. He 
had seen him move round a tree and get his legs so entangled in the 
process that, thanks to his natural suppleness, he almost succeeded 
in plaiting them together; whereupon, unable to stand up any longer, 
he gave a delighted cry and tumbled over with a childish chuckle, look- 
ing round in all directions with a poignant expression of unrewarded 
virtue on his face. Mr. Bedoux gave vent to groans of despair. Rama- 
samy assumed a contrite air, raised his eyes to the sky, and asserted 
in his own language that he was doing his very best. Then, by means of 
mime, he tried to show the ''Ratio" representative that he had not 
quite grasped his method and that further instruction would be much 

Once again, with angelic patience, Mr. Bedoux undertook to give 
this recalcitrant yet another demonstration. Ramasamy laid down his 
tools and squatted comfortably on his haunches. The kangani who, 
since working with the Technical Staff, had taken to wearing a Euro- 

Management Man; Where He Is Found 375 

pean shirt over his sarong and had substituted for his usual volley of 
oaths a sweeter-sounding litany in which the words ''leshloonishoon' 
and ''teehishoon' kept cropping up, gave a raucous yell as a signal for 
the other coolies in the gang to come and attend the lesson. They 
came from all directions, racing through the rubber trees, leaping over 
the undergrowth, giving evidence of superhuman activity in their 
haste to witness the performance. They gathered round in a circle, 
nodding their heads and watching Mr. Bedoux with an air of de- 
lighted approval. Puffing and sweating, Mr. Bedoux gallantly went 
through each of the pure gestures, the gestures devoid of all useless 
fantasy. His stumpy little arms, now heavily freckled by the fierce 
Malayan sun, described a series of straight lines indicating the shortest 
course between various given points. Needless to say, he merely went 
through the motions of tapping, drawing the chisel across the surface 
of the bark without cutting into it and expending a considerable 
amount of energy in his efforts to move his feet in a co-ordinated 

The kangani asked them in Tamil if they had all understood. 
There was a new outburst of vehement affirmation. 

'Tes, sir, yes! Like that, we quite understand f 

The gang then dispersed like a flight of sparrows and the kangani 
resumed his monologue, punctuated with the words "leshloonishoon" 
and "teeliishoon/' Mr. Bedoux switched his chronometer on again. 
This time Ramasamy really had understood and could hardly wait 
to prove it. There he was, imitating Mr. Bedoux to the letter — draw- 
ing his chisel across the surface of the bark, taking great care not to 
cut into it. With a glance of triumph in Mr. Bedoux's direction, he 
gamboled across to the next tree like a young billy goat and repeated 
the selfsame gestures. 

''But . . . look here!'' Mr. Bedoux burst out. 'TouVe got to tap 
the tree, damn it all! I just go through the motions, but you — you 
actually do it!" 

And the better to make him understand, he seized a chisel and 
drove it fiercely into the tree with a gesture of incipient exasperation. 
And he made a deep gash in the bark. And from that moment on, 
Ramasamy set to with a will, making hideous gashes that would have 
pierced the heart of any planter, carving off great chunks as thick as a 
man's finger instead of the thin strip, as delicate as the petal of a 
flower that he previously had detached with loving care. 

"^16 Time and Motion Study Under the Malayan Sun 

In the end, however, Ramasamy had grown weary of his own 
exhibitions. He had gently resumed his own individual method, based 
on the multiplication and prolongation of unproductive movements 
during which he gathered enough strength to carry on still further. 
He was almost unaware of the presence of Mr. Bedoux just behind 
him. He fell into a deep stupor and scarcely ever came out of it ex- 
cept when Mr. Bedoux in his anxiety and irritation brought him to 
his senses with a louder cry than usual. Then he would invent some 
fresh fantasy, like the novelty of holding the chisel in one hand alone, 
with three fingers, in the manner of a portrait painter. 

''Mr. Maille, please help me," Mr. Bedoux pleaded with tears in 
his eyes. ''Could you tell them that they shouldn't hold the tool like 
that? They really are rather dim-witted. . . . And when they're not 
indulging in flights of fancy, they're so terribly slow. They just drag 
themselves along, Mr. Maille. They almost fall asleep on their feet. 
Do you think they could be doing it on purpose?" 

Maille did not answer this last question but, mustering all the 
knowledge of Tamil he possessed, turned on Ramasamy and launched 
into a furious diatribe. 

"Ni, pandi m', surrulca odi po/" he finally concluded in a fierce 

Ramasamy seized his chisel in both hands and began to tap in 
the normal way. 

"That's much better," Mr. Bedoux observed, keeping his eye on 
the chronometer. "The movements are still not perfectly co-ordinated, 
but there's a marked improvement. What on earth did you say to 

"I said, 'Get a move on, you cur, you swine, or you'll have me 
to reckon with!' " 

"It's all very odd," Mr. Bedoux remarked. 




Is Germany a businessman's Utopia? Certainly manage- 
ment man in Germany emerged from the war with a resur- 
gence that astounded American and Biitish economists. 

Joseph Winshuhy commenting in the Harvard Business 
Review upon the young businessman in Germany's future, 
wiote ''The crying need is for the young businessman to 
make management an eUte caJh'ng or, to put it differently, to 
create in their own Eeld a distinction of eUteness. It is up 
to them to build in their own way a prestige that is built on 
their own contributions, material and otherwise, to scholar- 
ship, to the Ene arts, and to culture and even more so, on 
public admiration for the efficiency and speed with which 
they consummate the largest transactions. . . . Herein also lies 
the way to meet the competing appeal of the professions and 
the government service which, not being so rooted in money- 
making, and so exposed to its sordid temptations have been 
distinguished by a reputation for service/' 

The naive desire for the German businessman to be "ac- 
cepted'' seems to be pervasive in German business philosophy. 
Great emphasis has always been on the creative elements of 
business. The businessman who builds factories is always 
congratulated not only on the success of the combine but on 
the factory or factories that he physically established. As 

* From: The Managers (New York: New American Library of 
World Literature, Inc.) 196L 


378 The German Businessman 

early as 1921 Kail Bosch explained the workings oi creativity 
oi the businessman. "The imaginative creation oi the in- 
dustrialist can be put on the same level with that oi an artist. 
The technician is no more master oi his ideas and his imagi- 
native processes than the artist. It is wrong to imagine that 
everything is mathematically worked out. At the right mo- 
ment the industriaUst suddenly experiences — just like the 
artist — the impulse oi creation." 

It would appear that the entrepreneur is far more com- 
iortahle in Germany than the less imaginative corporation 
man. The desire ior "the elite'' that Mr. Winshuh comments 
upon, as well as the image oi their entrepreneur as a leader, 
are both expressions oi the German peoples' ever present 
desire ior a personality. The Germans have always expressed 
a remarkable talent for organization and the Common Market 
gives them iuU scope ior their expression oi that ability. The 
Austrians, also prosperous in their post-war society, look 
upon the German tendency ior hard work as "managerial 
sickness," but the Austrians, alas, can waste as much time 
on the creation oi a piece oi pastry as the Germans do on 
the complexity oi a business problem. 

In the ioUowing portrayal oi the German businessman, 
Roy Lewis, Washington correspondent ior the Economist oi 
London, and Rosemary Stewart, iormerly with the British 
Institute oi Management and now director oi the Acton 
Society, an independent research unit studying large scale 
organizations, investigate the power and privileges oi man- 
agement Hie in Germany. 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 379 

"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten." 

Joel 2:25 
''The average European hasn't the faintest hog's idea oi what an excit- 
ing game American hig business Me can he, and you are just wasting 
your breath trying to get it across to him. Incidentally, he is not worth 
it. He will often stoop to things that the Americans (I don't speak of 
crooks) have long given up as bad practice." 

Negley Farson 

± b 

he British businessman is not the only one who is 
being urged to emulate the American. On the con- 
tinent, too, the businessman, troubled with an unaccustomed and un- 
comfortable feeling that he has a problem of public relations, is be- 
ginning to look more carefully at the American business scene and to 
find in it features to admire. He is even beginning to wonder whether 
American business civilization is what he really needs in Europe; at 
any rate, it has become evident that his own attitudes are inadequate. 
Fortune found that the European businessman was, in contrast to the 
American, lonely in society; and therefore 

... so long as he is carrying out the unpopular game of business, he is 
resolved to pile up the chips; for inwardly he knows of only one justification 
for being in industry at all, namely, to get out of it ... by accumulating as 
fast and decisively as possible the sort of wealth that establishes status. 

— the status that is conferred by government service, scholarship, or 
the fine art of relaxation. 'It is their credo," remarked Fortune crush- 
ingly but sweepingly, ''and the ultimate explanation of the sad failures 
of continental capitalism that the sole mission of business is to enrich 
the businessman." 

Not even Belgian businessmen will swallow that verdict whole; 
but it is true that the continental businessman is newly aware of 
American business achievements, and not simply in terms of mana- 
gerial efficiency. From Marshall Aid to the Common Market, his 
thinking has moved along American lines, i.e., to justify himself and 
his works before workers and consumers. Nowhere has this happened 

380 The German Businessman 

more noticeably than in Germany. The German businessman is now 
probably as keenly conscious of American business philosophy, and is 
certainly importing American business methods as easily, as his 
British counterpart; indeed, it is quite likely that at the moment he 
is rather more Americanophile. There are sound reasons for this; yet 
the background of German business experience could hardly stand in 
greater contrast to American. If the Germans decide to model them- 
selves on the Americans, there certainly would seem to be prospects of 
converting the rest of the continental businessmen to a healthier 


The growth of capitalism in Germany was affected, to a far 
greater extent than in Britain or France, by a rigid structure of class 
and status; and the German businessman arose therefore out of a social 
background utterly at variance with American experience either in 
colonial days or afterward. 

In the eighteenth century, Germany was a congeries of princely 
states in each of which the head of state was absolute; he ruled by 
means of a professional bureaucracy and a standing army, and by the 
demarcation of society into classes or Staende which enjoyed no com- 
mon interest and therefore had no incentive to combine. Broadly 
stated, this was the common pattern of government from state to 
state. The aristocracy had the right to own land and exercise authority 
over it; and it had, too, the right to the higher posts in the army and 
civil service. At the opposite end of the social scale, the peasantry 
worked on the land and provided the conscripts for the armies. Be- 
tween the two, the Mittdstand (''middle class" is a word with too 
English associations to be a close translation) had the sole right to 
trade and manufacture. They were divided into various grades of 
burghers, depending on the state or city in which they lived. Tliey 
had fared very differently from their English counterparts since the 
Reformation. Like the English middle classes, they had sought politi- 
cal power for themselves, especially in the cities, but they had lost it 
all in the religious wars. They were also completely cut off from the 
wider perspectives of the New World, which had stirred up and lib- 
eralized French and English (if not Spanish) society. They lost touch 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 381 

with practicalities at the same time. Although the first of the mass- 
production consumer processes, printing, came from Germany in the 
fifteenth century, by the 1800s the country was far behind Britain, 
America, and France in technical progress. Germany was the land of 
music and philosophy — and of rigid social discipline. 

The only towns through which a freer air circulated were the 
ancient Hanse cities, which still traded with the world. Especially in 
Hamburg, they possessed a mercantile aristocracy, though they had 
lost most of the spirit that had inspired a merchant of Lubeck to carve 
over his lintel the basic tenet of the true merchant-adventurer: ''navi- 
gare necesse est: viveie non est necesse." 

Capitalism, technology, and business came to Germany in various 
ways. But the structure of a society based on status — and still divided 
between Catholic and Protestant states — was so strong that it had to 
shape itself largely to the form of that society, rather than (as in 
Britain) transforming it relatively swiftly. The Napoleonic wars sup- 
plied one impulse to the rise of business. The intellectuals among the 
middle classes began to pine for emancipation, for a more open so- 
ciety; the rulers began to need munitions; the philosophers began to 
think about the practical uses of natural science. 

When the continental blockade cut off English wares from Ger- 
many, the house of Krupp began to make a substitute for English 
cast steel, and thus founded its fortunes on a product which presently 
proved better than the original. The ambitious Frederick the Great of 
Prussia realized that his country could not be a military power without 
industry; yet, he lacked industrialists and repudiated the freedom 
under which entrepreneurs flourished in England and America. He 
therefore started industries (such as the Silesian coal mines) as a 
branch of the state bureaucracy. Elsewhere, a few members of the 
middle classes rose in the civil service, became ennobled, and bought 
up ancient estates where they introduced new methods and even in- 
dustries; thus, by one means or another, it became possible for the 
entrepreneur to begin the transformation and industrialization of 
German life by the second quarter of the nineteenth century. 

The businessmen were not much liked by the intellectuals. To 
them, as to Sombart, ''the entrepreneur, cool and calculating, is of a 
nonerotic type and unsentimental nature"; and 'Vork implies saving, 
love implies spending.'' But liberalism was able to make only tempo- 
rary use of the social discontent which seemed to sweep all of Ger- 

382 The German Businessman 

many in the revolution of 1848. It was defeated politically, and the 
field was left to the businessman, to whom industrialization was a 
practical job which could be done within the structure of reimposed 
authoritarianism. Thus, much of the energy that would have gone 
into creating a more democratic society, with more permeable class 
barriers, now went into industry. German business put on a Prussian 

Bismarck made the mold into which German business was 
poured in the last half of the nineteenth century. He broke the out- 
of-date medievalism of the Junker (land-owning) squires, but main- 
tained the autocracy of their king (and later, emperor). He released 
the creative and revolutionary forces of business and encouraged the 
commercial classes to intermarry with the hereditary ruling class, 
which was thus devalued. However, top businessmen did not find 
themselves, as in England, at the apex of society. Status remained 
decisive, and the army retained its caste privileges. The successful 
businessman might in time be allowed to put "von" in front of his 
name, but he could not aspire to become a full part of the nobility; 
and the purchase of a great estate did not (as, again, it did in Eng- 
land) provide his children with a springboard into the ruling circles. 
Nor had the German businessman the social life and culture to which 
the French bourgeois, on retirement, might turn with his millions and 
thus enter a European society of the spirit. Finance and banking did 
not achieve the same supremacy in German business or in German 
social life that they did in France and England; the German stock ex- 
change had none of the social cachet of the City or the Bourse. Thus 
the German business point of view was further circumscribed. The 
German bankers were mainly Jews, and suffered from social prejudice. 
German industry was even more anxious than British to keep out of 
the hands of the bankers, just because they were generally Jews. In- 
dustrial expansion proceeded more out of retained profits than in any 
other country, and when the Ruhr industry felt the need for credit 
institutions, they often created their own. Nothing like Wall Street 
ever arose in Germany, important as banking, including the great 
Jewish merchant banks, became. 

Nor had the German businessman any of the frontier spirit which 
imbued the American (indeed, he often emigrated in search of it). 
To some extent, a horizon of expansion was supplied to him by first 
the Zoilverein (customs union) of the German states and then by 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 383 

Bismarck's full political unification of Germany. This created a basis 
on which big business could operate; the German industrialists unified 
Germany by railways. 

Bismarck fought both socialism, parliamentarianism, and British 
''Manchesterism.'' He gave the German businessman a secure and 
protected basis from which to operate, to conquer the world by trade. 
From this grew two important tendencies in German business: the 
first, to seek to keep down political socialism by paternalism and 
workers' welfare in the plant; the second, to emphasize export trade. 
The German businessman did not seek to impose any economic 
philosophy on the State, beyond occasional grumbles, in the words of 
Treitschke, that the army and the bureaucracy were parasites on the 
merchant and manufacturer. In politics, he collaborated with author- 
ity; he concentrated his personal energies on business and on that 
assault on world markets which began at last to frighten even the 
most arrogant British exporter in the early twentieth century. 


The prototype of the German big businessman, as well as the 
most famous of his breed, was Alfred Krupp. His success was perhaps 
unfortunate for Germany later on, because Krupp, interested in steel 
guns and armament, did a great deal to foster the international arms 
race, though there is no reason to suppose it would not have taken 
place without him. The fortunes of the firm were built on railway 
equipment, and it became the greatest industrial complex in the Ruhr 
before the fatal Anglo-German naval race began. It was built on parsi- 
mony, will power, and technical know-how; Krupp's greatest grief was 
when he had to have recourse to the banks in the depression of the 
seventies. The leitmotiv of his life was his love-hate relationship with 
the Prussian state — at once a ceaseless battle with the bureaucracy for 
the recognition of the quality of his gun barrels and a ceaseless court- 
ship of the Prussian ruler for favors and, at times, capital. Krupp 
thought of himself as a loyal servant of the state, but at the same time 
he was a liberal businessman in the English sense, ready to defend 
his right to sell guns to all comers. He was patriotic, yet internation- 
alist; individualists, yet rigidly conservative. Krupp was paternal to his 
workmen, to whom he oflfered higher wages than ruled in the market, 

384 The German Businessman 

security, and some plant social services. Tyranny ruled the family, and 
Krupp even forbade his son to study at the university, thinking his 
own plant and his own example a complete education. A tiresome, 
self-made bourgeois, contemptuous of all culture, he was on the other 
hand personally and resourcefully interested in technology at a time 
when few British industrialists realized its importance (or had for- 
gotten it). He 

had faith in himself, his enterprise and the soundness of the world in which 
he lived, holding that faith with the simplicity of his generation. He con- 
sidered that he possessed the key to the secret of life. . . . Only one pre- 
liminary condition needed to be fulfilled. Everyone must do what he 
wanted. . . . And as his strength of will far exceeded that of those who 
worked for him, he succeeded in creating something out of nothing, and 
out of that something the greatest armament industry in the world. 

This could be a broad picture of the achievement of German business- 
men as a whole in the last half of the nineteenth and first decade 
of the twentieth century. Von Stumm, the steel magnate, came from 
the same mold: 

I demand and I expect complete confidence in me. I refuse to discuss 
any unjustified demands. I shall, as I have always done, try to meet any 
justified demands before they are formulated even, and I therefore ask 
everyone who does not wish to accept this to give notice as soon as possible, 
so as to avoid my giving them notice, and so leave the establishment in a 
lawful and orderly manner to make room for others, as I can assure them I 
mean to remain master in my own house and on my own soil. 

In the early years of the twentieth century, however, the great 
Ruhr industrial autocrats like the Krupps and Stumms were reinforced 
by German businessmen with a remarkable technological flair in 
many fields. German technical education was paying high dividends. 
Siemens, for example, learned engineering in the Berlin war academy 
from Ohm, and turned from gun cotton to wireless telegraphy; 
Diesel studied engineering at an Augsburg technical high school, and 
from inventing refrigeration by means of ammonia, turned to its use 
as fuel for light engines; Duisberg went from his chemistry studies in 
Gottingen to Bayer & Co.; Emil Rathenau was an electrical engineer; 
Heinkers career began when, as a poor student, he saw a Zeppelin 
burn out and decided to devote his life to heavier-than-air craft. The 
top German businessmen set a tradition of giving control to scientists 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 38S 

rather than accountants. Then, too, coming late to industriahsm, they 
were able to lay out their plants more advantageously than the British. 
Thorstein Veblen noted that: 

The German adventurers in the field of business, being captains of industry 
rather than finance, were also free to choose their associates and staff with 
a view to their industrial insight and capacity rather than their astuteness 
in ambushing the community's loose change. 

Young men who went into German industry early found themselves 
part of a research team; for example, in 1908, the young chemist Karl 
Bosch worked with Professor Fritz Haber on synthetic nitrogen, and 
built his march to the top in I. G. Farben on this technical success. 
The discipline of the Prussian army, and the different but equally 
exacting discipline of science, shaped German industry on a particular 
pattern. It made possible precision in management as well as in 
engineering. An American observer, even before the First World 
War, noted: 

As modern capitalism develops, it assumes more and more the aspect of a 
system in which the individuality of men is sacrificed. The operation of a 
large manufacturing plant approximates more and more to the routine of 
the army; with the perfection of machinery, the human labor comes to 
resemble the drill of the soldier, monotonous and mechanical. Patient toil, 
endurance and obedience are the qualities fostered in the army and 
utilized in industry. The capitalist could scarcely ask for a better training 
school for his employees. 

This discipline had its disadvantages. Because German workers tended 
to be obedient, not complaining about conditions in the factory any 
more than they did of those in the army, production was often ineffi- 
cient. The smoothness of German administration astonished every- 
body; but the art of industrial efficiency, and above all of work study, 
was born in the far less disciplined society of America (though the 
Germans took it up in the ''Rationalisierung" movement after World 
War I ) . Heel-clicking and subservience in the management hierarchy 
also meant that German executives often lacked the self-criticism that 
was so healthy in America. Krupp left detailed— and quickly outdated 
— instructions for his management; it was years before his son was 
able to escape from the strait jacket which they imposed on the organi- 
zation and its higher control. 

Order, regulation, and system were (and are) characteristic of 

386 The German Businessman 

German business because they were (and are) characteristic of the 
German businessman. From these traits grew the cartels and other 
producers' price agreements which have always been a marked feature 
of German industry. Cartels were legalized in Germany at a time when 
the United States was busy trust-busting. Even the British business- 
man found that he was totally incompetent to restrict competition in 
the same disciplined degree as the Germans (to the deep relief of 
British economists). But to the Germans, competition spelled dis- 
order and muddle; it did not seem to them a mechanism, as delicately 
adjusted as a watch movement, to achieve market equilibrium. They 
regarded it as the rudimentary, chaotic stage of capitalist development, 
to be eliminated as business moved toward a collective orderliness. 
This feeling was emphasized by the importance of status in Germany; 
cartels were aimed at defending the position of existing businesses, and 
working people and trade unions approved of this as a defense of 
employment and wage rates. The idea that a great firm could be 
thrown off balance or even destroyed by an upstart was repugnant to 
the type of mind which was schooled to put the aristocracy above the 
bourgeoisie, to defer before the king and the army, and to dress its 
own ranks in a comparable hierarchy of wealth and prestige. 

The creation of the great German industrial complexes proceeded 
from similar motives of solidifying — securing — status quite as much as 
from a scientific appraisal of the advantages of vertical organization. 
The German industrialist, imbued with a need for security, fearful of 
conditions which he did not control, always had a tendency to seek 
to buy the sources of his own raw material, the means of transporting 
them to his factory, and hence the power to price every intermediate 
stage of manufacture. The Englishman instinctively felt it was cheap- 
est to ''buy out" his materials, because he thought that competition 
would keep down the prices he had to pay; the German feared that 
if he did not have control, he would be deprived of his needs. Thus, 
the great Ruhr industrialists went from steelmaking to mining, and 
then the other way to shipbuilding and machine construction. They 
sought to be the producers of their products and even the users of 
them; the only thing they did not have was control of world markets. 
This tendency was very widespread; Thyssen bought up shipping, 
locomotives, and railway cars; Stinnes started in mining, went on to 
electricity, and thence to wood pulp and newspapers; even Diesel, 
once he had made a practicable oil engine, proceeded to buy Galician 

Management Man: Where He Is Found 387 

oilfields to make sure of his fuel supplies (subsequently, he lost heavily 
on them). 

To the organization of these great business empires German 
businessmen devoted their immense talents for order. They also 
poured into these enterprises their compulsive urge to work. In their 
own way, German businessmen found, as early as did Americans, that 
business could be a completely absorbing way of life. Indeed, in the 
abandonment of any other interests, beyond a traditional domesticity, 
they may have led the way; nineteenth-century American businessmen 
still preserved a vague idea of getting something out of business, other 
than business itself. The German, cut off from politics, debarred from 
society, morally repelled by the conception of a life of culture and 
leisure, for the most part insensitive to art, gave his entire energy to 
business organization. 

German upbringing has always emphasized the importance of 
doing a job properly; it emphasizes thoroughness, or ''TiichligkeitJ' In 
business everywhere, particularly in the scientific era, this has been 
the cardinal virtue. It has involved a great development of cartels, it 
is true; but it has also yielded an intense devotion to specialized tasks, 
which has paid off well both in applied science and in methodical 
marketing — especially abroad. At home, the Germans have never 
pursued the consumers with blandishments — because they are only 
Germans. Abroad, the German attitude is just the opposite: nothing is 
too much trouble. The English often give the reverse impression, 
though they are not trying to emulate the Germans, and, as has been 
suggested, they find it very uncongenial. 

It may be significant, however, that these are the virtues of 
people unsure of themselves; as an American observer puts it, this love 
of orderliness and passion for detail constitute a ''protection against 
the vagueness of their basic emotional drive." They need the security 
of order and system; they need to be disciplined. Part of German 
antipathy for the English springs from the lackadaisical self-assurance 
which the English display (though it may now be declining) and 
which they find hard to forgive in a Teutonic people. For the same 
reason, English and German industrialists and technologists often get 
on extremely well. 

The obsession with system and status prompted German busi- 
nessmen to provide remarkably complete welfare services on a plant 
basis. Krupp was only one of the first to build houses for his em- 

388 The German Businessman 

ployees; Fritz Henkel, the washing-soda king, provided schools and 
sanatoria. In 1872, Siemens started a pension fund for all employees, 
a profits bonus, and priority for re-engagement of staff who had been 
laid off. Karl Zeiss even introduced the eight-hour day, though most 
German employers expected their workers to be as ready to work long 
hours as they were themselves. Good relations on this basis have been 
common in Germany (and still are); Benz was *Tapa Benz" to his 
employees. Robert Bosch (who had introduced the eight-hour day 
even earlier, in 1886) was appalled when his own workers joined the 
revolution in 1919; Ballin committed suicide when it happened in his 

The minority of enlightened employers among German indus- 
trialists often held the opinion — perhaps even before it was developed 
in the United States — that happy plant relationships based on a 
paternal care for welfare would contribute to a society without class 
tension, without any envy of the have-nots for the haves. ''I have al- 
ways felt it the noblest duty of an industrialist,'' said Duisberg, ''to 
find a solution for the social problem." Karl Bosch almost echoes 
Krupp when he said, '1 consider it a much more important moral 
obligation to assure our 125,000 employees, which we and our sub- 
sidiaries employ, a secure livelihood, than to pay dividends based on 
changing economic conditions." Men of this stamp were, however, 
unusually liberal; Robert Bosch, for example, favored workers' repre- 
sentatives on the Aufsichtsrat. 

To some extent, this policy succeeded. Germany suffered fewer 
strikes than England or America. German employees could sense the 
pride of the boss in being a good employer. In small firms, especially, 
the relationship was closer than in Britain or France. The German 
felt like the officer of a regiment toward his men; he insisted on work 
and discipline, but their personal worries were his concern, too. This 
tradition has proved durable and is still continuing. The German busi- 
nessman is therefore likely to force a great deal of welfare upon his 
employees which they may not really want; but he is also perfectly 
capable of sending his car to take his secretary's grandmother to the 
hospital. First names are used paternally toward workers, but toward 
employees of the same social class, formality is practiced. Toward his 
colleagues, however, he is more formal. German social relationships 
are not, in fact, secure enough for the American fashion of using first 
names among colleagues to take root there. 


His Future 






Where will management man stand in the decades to 

The Bureau oi the Census Ends that the fastest growing 
occupational group is in the ''managerial, professional, and 
technical/' Eelds. In twenty years these ''knowledge workers" 
will make up half the United States woik force. Another 
quarter will have sales and clerical jobs, and only one quarter 
will he industrial workers. {Peter Drucker, incidentally, has 
estimated that three quarters oi the Soviet Union at that 
time will he manual workers and only one quarter knowl- 
edge workers, and oi that quarter, nearly all oi them en- 
gineers. ) 

Management man will be more mobile than ever. His wife 
and iamily must not only adapt themselves to moving irom 
Chicago to San Diego and irom San Diego to Portland, 
Maine, but with equal ease and adaptability must move irom 
Peoria to Paris, irom Mobile to Manila. Management man 
will blanket the entire globe. But where speciEcally will a 
company End tomorrow's manager? 

* From: The New Society (New York: Harper & Brothers) 


392 Where Will Tomorrow's Managers Come From 

Peter Drucker, America's leading student of the economic^ 
social, and political piohlems oi our management age, ana- 
lyzes in the following section how management is likely to 
get the managers for tomonow's jobs. 

Management Man: His Future 393 


ince operating experience and performance are likely 
to unfit a man for top management, it would seem 
logical to try to obtain top-management candidates from elsewhere. 
This reasoning underlies the two most popular policies of American 
management today with regard to the problem of the succession. 

One is the increasing dependence on ''staff" people as the 
reservoir for top-management positions. Men who have had very little 
or no operating experience, who have actually never worked in the 
enterprise proper, but who have spent most of their working life in the 
central office as assistants on policy decisions, are increasingly pre- 
ferred in the promotion to top-management rank. These men ob- 
viously have a view of the whole — which is the reason why they are 
being picked. But they have usually been less tested in an independent 
command than the operating people. In fact, most of them have never 
been in charge of any organization larger than a private secretary. Also 
these men, while they see the whole, often lack any knowledge of the 
actual operations of the enterprise; they do not have the ''feel," of 
the place; they do not know the people and are not known by them. 
They also tend to be rather contemptuous of the operating people. It 
is after all the staff's job to be critical of operating performance. The 
staff men have thus spent many years trying to "sell" the operating 
people on new ideas and to overcome the resistance of the organiza- 
tion. They are in turn regarded by the organization as outsiders and 
as "starry-eyed dreamers" who are completely impractical. The operat- 
ing organization bitterly resents their promotion and tends to ascribe 
it to "pull" and "favoritism." Their decisions, when in the top com- 
mand, therefore, meet with resistance and sabotage. 

Hardly more satisfactory is the attempt to provide special train- 
ing and a special ladder of promotion for a few hand-picked "crown 
princes." Increasingly, young men are being promoted to top-manage- 
ment positions. These young men are not, as they were fifty years 
ago, the sons or the relatives of the owner or of the top-management 
people; anything that smacks of nepotism is now frowned upon. The 
young men who have taken the place of the boss's son of yesterday 
are usually brilliant college graduates who were picked for a rapid 

394 Where Will Tomorrow's Managers Come From 

career the moment they entered the company's employ. Outwardly it 
appears as if these men have to climb the same ladder everybody else 
has to climb. They begin as clerks or as apprentice engineers, and go 
through the customary steps. Actually, this appearance of a normal 
career is an illusion, if not a mere concession to the proprieties. The 
brilliant young candidate as a rule does not even spend enough time 
in any one job to get a thorough training. He spends just enough 
time to become familiar with the jargon of a department. 

Unlike the staff man, the ''crown prince" is usually thoroughly 
tested in independent commands. At an early age he is given impor- 
tant assignments and important responsibilities; from the first his job 
is that of a future top manager in training rather than that of a 
genuine subordinate. But his assignments will all be ''special'' assign- 
ments. He remains an outsider, who is not likely to accept the 
organization or to be accepted by it. 

This attempt to solve the succession problem is less rational than 
the succession by inheritance of fifty years ago which modern manage- 
ment so virtuously spurns. At least the special training and promotion 
of the owner's son was honest and out in the open. Everybody knew 
that the young man would inherit sooner or later. The "crown prince 
bv birth" had a title to the succession. It was to the interest of the 
whole organization to have a man so obviously destined for the top 
position well trained, well acquainted with the organization and well 
prepared. The "crown prince by selection," however, is resented by 
everybody. While the owner's son had an obvious claim and title, the 
claim of the graduate of the Harvard Business School to possess 
superior intelligence and ability is not likely to be taken in good grace 
by people who have grown old in the service of the enterprise. That 
they call it "cradle-snatching" shows what they think of it. 

There is no escaping the need for a policy that will make 
operating men capable of succeeding to the top-management po- 
sitions. . . . 

The first obstacle is the lack of any yardstick to measure perform- 
ance, and especially to measure potential top-management per- 

Every one of the traditional yardsticks developed to measure 
executive and administrative potential is inapplicable to the enterprise. 
The oldest of all objective measures, and the one with the longest 
continuous history, is the competitive examination around which the 

Management Man; His Future 395 

Chinese built their entire governmental structure, and which is being 
increasingly used in the government service of every Western nation. 
But examinations can only test knowledge, whereas the enterprise 
needs a test of ability and character if not of performance. 

Equally inappropriate is the criterion of success developed in 
Church or Army; a combination of length of service and adaptation 
to a codified tradition. In both these institutions the emphasis is not 
on ability to change, let alone on ability to initiate change, but on 
ability to conform to an unchanging standard of conduct and per- 
sonality developed over a long period of time. But in the enterprise 
the management job consists very largely of the management of 
change, if not of taking the lead in changes. Neither seniority nor the 
yardstick of a traditional pattern can be applied. 

Where there is no way to predict performance, we have to use 
experience and judgment. But the enterprise does not normally provide 
the experience that alone would count: experience in an independent 
command. The qualities which make a first-rate lieutenant are likely 
to unfit a man for an independent top position. The enterprise usually 
cannot test a man in an independent command until he has reached 
a position where incompetence or mistakes may endanger the very 
survival of the enterprise. Methods of predicting a man's potential — 
by psychological tests, for instance — are a very poor substitute for an 
actual test under ''battle conditions." At best they can eliminate the 
grossest misfits. 

If selection as well as evaluation of management personnel has 
to be based on judgment, there must be an authority to make these 
judgments. It must be an authority thoroughly familiar with the 
problems of the enterprise and with its personnel. At the same time 
it must be completely untouched by the personal ambitions and 
political struggles within the management group. 

Such an authority does not exist in the enterprise. By law and 
custom the Board of Directors constitutes this authority. But there 
are very few Boards which actually assume it or which would be 
capable of discharging it. The great majority of Boards do not even 
concern themselves with it. 

Altogether the Board of Directors is an anomaly. It does not 
function, and usually cannot function as the representative of the 
stockholders, which according to law it is supposed to be. It is much 
too far away from the company's affairs to have any real knowledge 

396 Where Will Tomonow's Managers Come From 

of the company's problems. The normal Board members spends at 
most a day or two each month with the company. More and more 
companies have replaced their outside part-time Directors with inside 
full-time Directors who are members of management and therefore 
themselves interested parties in the decisions of the Board. The 
selection of management personnel, their training and development, 
their promotion, the replacement of top executives and their appraisal 
are thus either left to chance or to the uncontrolled decision of top 
management itself. 

That the "withering away" of the Board is not a weakness in- 
herent in the corporate form of organization, but one that lies in the 
structure of the enterprise, is indicated by the Russian experience. In 
the Soviet Union the top-management position is held by the various 
ministries in charge of specific industries; the manager of a plant, 
even of a big plant, has only operating and day-to-day duties. The 
job of selecting successors is considered a foremost responsibility of 
the head of the ministry, who is usually not a technician or a former 
operating man but a Party politician. Yet, despite the minister's po- 
litical power and his independence of the organization, he is ap- 
parently quite incapable of controlling the personnel decisions of his 
ministry, or even of ensuring that leaders are being developed and 
trained. The neglect of the job of supplying adequate trained and 
tested successors has been a constant and loud complaint since the 
beginning of Russia's industrialization. The reasons given are very 
similar to those given for the failure of the Board of Directors: The 
minister is too far away to know what goes on; he is too busy to pay 
much attention, etc. Just like our Boards, the Soviet Minister of 
Light Metal Industries or of Mining apparently tends to postpone 
decisions on top-management personnel till it is too late to do any- 
thing but appoint the man with the greatest seniority to the vacancy. 
That the decision can be postponed for a long time explains in large 
part why decisions on succession are so often shirked altogether. 




What is society to be like in the future? Since earliest 
times, man has been interested in expressing some Utopian 
world yet to come where a Jife that has not been achieved 
today, will be achieved tomorrow. It is remarkable that some 
oi these prophets have painted the future so accurately. 
Edward Bellamy, the nineteenth century writer, could be 
considered the Jules Verne oi many aspects of management 
life, just as Jules Verne himself was the prophet for our 
scientific discoveries of today. Bellamy's world was a highly 
centralized, over-organized bureaucracy. As Erich Fromm 

Bellamy did not see the dangers of a managerial society and 
of bureaucratization. He did not recognize that the bureaucrat 
is a man who administers things and people, and who relates 
himself to people as to things. Bellamy did not see that a society 
in which the individual does not act as a responsible participant 
in his own work lacks the essential elements of democracy, and 
is one in which man loses his individuality and initiative; that 
the bureaucratic system eventually tends to produce machines 
that act like men and men who act like machines. The emphasis 
on bureaucratic, centralized government seems to be indeed, the 
worst defect of Bellamy's Utopia (a pitfall that was clearly seen 
and described in another important Utopia, News from Nowhere, 
by William Morris), but it may be said that at a time when 
callous and irresponsible private owners directed production, the 
danger of a class of skilled managers was not yet so visible as it 
has become to those living in a period of a managerial society. 

* From: Looking Backward, 1888. 


398 Looking Backward 

NeveithelesSy Bdhmy explored all avenues oi what seemed 
to him must he the golden future. Sylvia Bowman in her 
fascinating biography of Bellamy discovered that in one of 
his notebooks he had observed that it would be convenient to 
have a house built on a pivot like an ofRce chair so that it 
could be turned at will to change the prospects or to catch 
the sun. The furnishings of the year 2,000 was simple. They 
were to be made of paper and could always be replaced, 
carpetSy bedding, dishes and draperies. The public kitchen 
had eradicated the kitchen in the home. Bellamy as you can 
see had not anticipated that the public kitchens of today 
would really be frozen foods, but this is a small detail in a 
• book that explored all aspects of a society that he imagined. 
_ Bellamy's prime interest, however, was in the political 

aspects of the future. He lived in an unusually turbulent 
, V . period. Looking Backward was published in 1888; panics, 
depressions, and conflicts between capital and labor were al- 
ways present. There was an "unconscious socialism at work 
in the land,'' and Bellamy became a spokesman for those 
thoughts. Looking Backward was one of the most important 
hooks published in the United States. In fact it has appeared 
repeatedly in qualified lists as one of the most important 
books of the world to be published in the last one hundred 

"In the bakelite house of the future," said J. B. Priestly 
recently, "the dishes may not break but the heart can. Even 
a man with ten showerbaths may End life flat, stale and 
unprofitable." Bellamy in his time had seen a great deal of 
heartbreak. In one giant step of fantasy the author tries to 
remedy everything. In what follows we look backward to the 
world of tomorrow — a world projected by a man who lived 
: ' and suffered in the nineteenth century. 

Management Man: His Future 399 


e had made an appointment to meet the ladies at 
the dining hall for dinner, after which, having some 
engagement, they left us sitting at table there, discussing our wine and 
cigars with a multitude of other matters. 

''Doctor," said I, in the course of our talk, ''morally speaking, 
your social system is one which I should be insensate not to admire 
in comparison with any previously in vogue in the world, and espe- 
cially with that of my own most unhappy century. If I were to fall 
into a mesmeric sleep tonight as lasting as that other, and meanwhile 
the course of time were to take a turn backward instead of forward, 
and I were to wake up again in the nineteenth century, when I had 
told my friends what I had seen, they would every one admit that your 
world was a paradise of order, equity, and felicity. But they were a 
very practical people, my contemporaries, and after expressing their 
admiration for the moral beauty and material splendor of the system, 
they would presently begin to cipher and ask how you got the money 
to make everybody so happy; for certainly, to support the whole nation 
at a rate of comfort, and even luxury, such as I see around me, must 
involve vastly greater wealth than the nation produced in my day. 
Now, while I could explain to them pretty nearly everything else of 
the main features of your system, I should quite fail to answer this 
question, and failing there, they would tell me, for they were very 
close cipherers, that I had been dreaming; nor would they ever believe 
anything else. In my day, I know that the total annual product of the 
nation, although it might have been divided with absolute equality, 
would not have come to more than three or four hundred dollars per 
head, not very much more than enough to supply the necessities of 
life with few or any of its comforts. How is it that you have so much 

"That is a very pertinent question, Mr. West," replied Doctor 
Leete, "and I should not blame your friends, in the case you supposed, 
if they declared your story all moonshine, failing a satisfactory reply 
to it. It is a question which I cannot answer exhaustively at any one 
sitting, and as for the exact statistics to bear out my general statements, 
I shall have to refer you for them to books in my library, but it would 

400 Looking Backward 

certainly be a pity to leave you to be put to confusion by your old 
acquaintances, in case of the contingency you speak of, for lack of a 
few suggestions. 

''Let us begin with a number of small items wherein we econo- 
mize wealth as compared with you. We have no national, state, 
county, or municipal debts, or payments on their account. We have 
no sort of military or naval expenditures for men or materials, no army, 
navy, or militia. We have no revenue service, no swarm of tax assessors 
and collectors. As regards our judiciary, police, sheriffs, and jailers, 
the force which Massachusetts alone kept on foot in your day far 
more than suffices for the nation now. We have no criminal class 
preying upon the wealth of society as you had. The number of persons, 
more or less absolutely lost to the working force through physical 
disability, of the lame, sick, and debilitated, which constituted such 
a burden on the able-bodied in your day, now that all live under 
conditions of health and comfort, has shrunk to scarcely perceptible 
proportions, and with every generation is becoming more completely 

''Another item wherein we save is the disuse of money and the 
thousand occupations connected with financial operations of all sorts, 
whereby an army of men was formerly taken away from useful employ- 
ments. Also consider that the waste of the very rich in your day on 
inordinate personal luxury has ceased, though, indeed, this item might 
easily be overestimated. Again, consider that there are no idlers now, 
rich or poor — no drones. 

"A very important cause of former poverty was the vast waste of 
labor and materials which resulted from domestic washing and cook- 
ing, and the performing separately of innumerable other tasks to 
which we apply the cooperative plan. 

"A larger economy than any of these — yes, of all together — is 
effected by the organization of our distributing system, by which the 
work done once by the merchants, traders, storekeepers, with their 
various grades of jobbers, wholesalers, retailers, agents, commercial 
travelers, and middlemen of all sorts, with an excessive waste of 
energy in needless transportation and interminable handlings, is per- 
formed by one-tenth the number of hands and an unnecessary turn of 
not one wheel. Something of what our distributing system is like you 
know. Our statisticians calculate that one-eightieth part of our workers 
suffices for all the processes of distribution which in your day required 

Management Man: His Future 401 

one-eighth of the population, so much being withdrawn from the 
force engaged in productive labor." 

'1 begin to see/' I said, ''where you get your greater wealth." 

'1 beg your pardon/' replied Doctor Leete, ''but you scarcely do 
as yet. The economies I have mentioned thus far, in the aggregate, 
considering the labor they would save directly and indirectly through 
saving of material, might possibly be equivalent to the addition to 
your annual production of wealth of one-half its former total. These 
items are, however, scarcely worth mentioning in comparison with 
other prodigious wastes, now saved, which resulted inevitably from 
leaving the industries of the nation to private enterprise. However 
great the economies your contemporaries might have devised in the 
consumption of products, and however marvelous the progress of 
mechanical invention, they could never have raised themselves out of 
the slough of poverty so long as they held to that system. 

"No mode more wasteful for utilizing human energy could be 
devised, and for the credit of the human intellect it should be remem- 
bered that the system never was devised, but was merely a survival 
from the rude ages when the lack of social organization made any sort 
of cooperation impossible." 

"I will readily admit," I said, "that our industrial system was 
ethically very bad, but as a mere wealth-making machine, apart from 
moral aspects, it seemed to us admirable." 

"As I said," responded the doctor, "the subject is too large to 
discuss at length now, but if you are really interested to know the 
main criticisms which we moderns make on your industrial systems as 
compared with our own, I can touch briefly on some of them. 

"The wastes which resulted from leaving the conduct of industry 
to irresponsible individuals, wholly without mutual understanding or 
concert, were mainly four: first, the waste by mistaken undertakings; 
second, the waste from the competition and mutual hostility of those 
engaged in industry; third, the waste by periodical gluts and crises, 
with the consequent interruptions of industry; fourth, the waste from 
idle capital and labor, at all times. Any one of these four great leaks, 
were all the others stopped, would suffice to make the difference be- 
tween wealth and poverty on the part of a nation. 

"Take the waste by mistaken undertakings, to begin with. In 
your day the production and distribution of commodities being with- 
out concert or organization, there was no means of knowing just what 

402 Looking Backward 

demand there was for any class of products, or what was the rate of 
supply. Therefore, any enterprise by a private capitalist was always a 
doubtful experiment. The projector having no general view of the 
field of industry and consumption, such as our government has, could 
never be sure either what the people wanted, or what arrangements 
other capitalists were making to supply them. In view of this, we are 
not surprised to learn that the chances were considered several to one 
in favor of the failure of any given business enterprise, and that it was 
common for persons who at last succeeded in making a hit to have 
failed repeatedly. If a shoemaker, for every pair of shoes he succeeded 
in completing, spoiled the leather of four or five pair, besides losing 
the time spent on them, he would stand about the same chance of 
getting rich as your contemporaries did with their system of private 
enterprise, and its average of four or five failures to one success. 

'The next of the great wastes was that from competition. The 
field of industry was a battlefield as wide as the world, in which the 
workers wasted, in assailing one another, energies which, if expended 
in concerted effort, as today, would have enriched all. As for mercy 
or quarter in this warfare, there was absolutely no suggestion of it. To 
deliberately enter a field of business and destroy the enterprises of 
those who had occupied it previously, in order to plant one's own 
enterprise on their ruins, was an achievement which never failed to 
command popular admiration. Nor is there any stretch of fancy in 
comparing this sort of struggle with actual warfare, so far as concerns 
the mental agony and physical suffering which attended the struggle, 
and the misery which overwhelmed the defeated and those dependent 
on them. Now nothing about your age is, at first sight, more astound- 
ing to a man of modern times than the fact that men engaged in the 
same industry, instead of fraternizing as comrades and colaborers to a 
common end, should have regarded each other as rivals and enemies 
to be throttled and overthrown. This certainly seems like sheer mad- 
ness, a scene from bedlam. But more closely regarded, it is seen to be 
no such thing. Your contemporaries, with their mutual throat-cutting, 
knew very well what they were at. The producers of the nineteenth 
century were not, like ours, working together for the maintenance of 
the community, but each solely for his own maintenance at the ex- 
pense of the community. If, in working to this end, he at the same 
time increased the aggregate wealth, that was merely incidental. It 
was just as feasible and as common to increase one's private hoard by 

Management Man: His Future 403 

practices injurious to the general welfare. One's worst enemies were 
necessarily those of his own trade, for, under your plan of making 
private profit the motive of production, a scarcity of the article he 
produced was what each particular producer desired. It was for his 
interest that no more of it should be produced than he himself could 
produce. To secure this consummation as far as circumstances per- 
mitted, by killing off and discouraging those engaged in his line of 
industry, was his constant effort. When he had killed off all he could, 
his policy was to combine with those he could not kill, and convert 
their mutual warfare into a warfare upon the public at large by corner- 
ing the market, as I believe you used to call it, and putting up prices 
to the highest point people would stand before going without the 
goods. The daydream of the nineteenth-century producer was to gain 
absolute control of the supply of some necessity of life, so that he 
might keep the public at the verge of starvation, and always command 
famine prices for what he supplied. This, Mr. West, is what was called 
in the nineteenth century a systerri of production. I will leave it to 
you if it does not seem, in some of its aspects, a great deal more like 
a system for preventing production. Some time when we have plenty 
of leisure I am going to ask you to sit down with me and try to make 
me comprehend, as I never yet could, though I have studied the 
matter a great deal, how such shrewd fellows as your contemporaries 
appear to have been in many respects ever came to entrust the busi- 
ness of providing for the community to a class whose interest it was to 
starve it. I assure you that the wonder with us is, not that the world 
did not get rich under such a system, but that it did not perish out- 
right from want. This wonder increases as we go on to consider some 
of the other prodigious wastes that characterized it. 

''Apart from the waste of labor and capital by misdirected in- 
dustry, and that from the constant bloodletting of your industrial 
warfare, your system was liable to periodical convulsions, overwhelm- 
ing alike the wise and unwise, the successful cutthroat as well as his 
victim. I refer to the business crises at intervals of five to ten years, 
which wrecked the industries of the nation, prostrating all weak enter- 
prises and crippling the strongest, and were followed by long periods, 
often of many years, of so-called dull times, during which the capitalists 
slowly regathered their dissipated strength while the laboring classes 
starved and rioted. Then would ensue another brief season of pros- 
perity, followed in turn by another crisis and the ensuing years of 

404 Looking Backward 

exhaustion. As commerce developed, making the nations mutually 
dependent, these crises became worldwide, while the obstinacy of the 
ensuing state of collapse increased with the area affected by the con- 
vulsions, and the consequent lack of rallying centers. In proportion as 
the industries of the world multiplied and became complex, and the 
volume of capital involved was increased, these business cataclysms 
became more frequent, till, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, 
there were two years of bad times to one of good, and the system of 
industry, never before so extended or so imposing, seemed in danger 
of collapsing by its own weight. After endless discussions, your econo- 
mists appear by that time to have settled down to the despairing 
conclusion that there was no more possibility of preventing or con- 
trolling these crises than if they had been droughts or hurricanes. It 
only remained to endure them as necessary evils, and when they had 
passed over to build up again the shattered structure of industry, as 
dwellers in an earthquake country keep on rebuilding their cities on 
the same site. 

''So far as considering the causes of the trouble inherent in their 
industrial system, your contemporaries were certainly correct. They 
were in its very basis, and must needs become more and more malefi- 
cent as the business fabric grew in size and complexity. One of these 
causes was the lack of any common control of the different industries, 
and the consequent impossibility of their orderly and coordinate 
development. It inevitably resulted from this lack that they were 
continually getting out of step with one another and out of relation 
with the demand. 

''Of the latter there was no criterion such as organized distribu- 
tion gives us, and the first notice that it had been exceeded in any 
group of industries was a crash of prices, bankruptcy of producers, 
stoppage of production, reduction of wages, or discharge of workmen. 
This process was constantly going on in many industries, even in what 
were called good times, but a crisis took place only when the industries 
affected were extensive. The markets then were glutted with goods, of 
which nobody wanted beyond a sufficiency at any price. The wages 
and profits of those making the glutted classes of goods being reduced 
or wholly stopped, their purchasing power as consumers of other 
classes of goods, of which there was no natural glut, was taken away, 
and, as a consequence, goods of which there was no natural glut 
became artificially glutted, till their prices also were broken down, and 

Management Man: His Future 40S 

their makers thrown out of work and deprived of income. The crisis 
was by this time fairly under way, and nothing could check it till a 
nation's ransom had been wasted, 

''A cause, also inherent in your system, which often produced and 
always terribly aggravated crises, was the machinery of money and 
credit. Money was essential when production was in many private 
hands, and buying and selling were necessary to secure what one 
wanted. It was, however, open to the obvious objection of substituting 
for food, clothing, and other things a merely conventional representa- 
tive of them. The confusion of mind which this favored, between 
goods and their representative, led the way to the credit system and 
its prodigious illusions. Already accustomed to accept money for com- 
modities, the people next accepted promises for money, and ceased 
to look at all behind the representative for the thing represented. 
Money was a sign of real commodities, but credit was but the sign 
of a sign. There was a natural limit to gold and silver, that is, money 
proper, but none to credit, and the result was that the volume of 
credit, that is, the promises of money, ceased to bear any ascertainable 
proportion to the money, still less to the commodities, actually in 
existence. Under such a system, frequent and periodical crises were 
necessitated by a law as absolute as that which brings to the ground 
a structure overhanging its center of gravity. It was one of your fictions 
that the government and the banks authorized by it alone issued 
money; but everybody who gave a dollar's credit issued money to that 
extent, which was as good as any to swell the circulation till the next 
crises. The great extension of the credit system was a characteristic of 
the latter part of the nineteenth century, and accounts largely for the 
almost incessant business crises which marked that period. Perilous 
as credit was, you could not dispense with its use, for, lacking any 
national or other public organization of the capital of the country, it 
was the only means you had for concentrating and directing it upon 
industrial enterprises. It was in this way a most potent means for 
exaggerating the chief peril of the private-enterprise system of industry 
by enabling particular industries to absorb disproportionate amounts 
of the disposable capital of the country, and thus prepare disaster. 
Business enterprises were always vastly in debt for advances of credit, 
both to one another and to the banks and capitalists, and the prompt 
withdrawal of this credit at the first sign of a crisis was generally the 
precipitating cause of it. 

406 Looking Backward 

''It was the misfortune of your contemporaries that they had to 
cement their business fabric with a material which an accident might 
at any moment turn into an explosive. They were in the plight of a 
man building a house with dynamite for mortar^ for credit can be 
compared with nothing else. 

*'If you would see how needless were these convulsions of busi- 
ness which I have been speaking of, and how entirely they resulted 
from leaving industry to private and unorganized management, just 
consider the working of our system. Overproduction in special lines, 
which was the great hobgoblin of your day, is impossible now, for by 
the connection between distribution and production supply is geared 
to demand like an engine to the governor which regulates its speed. 
Even suppose by an error of judgment an excessive production of 
some commodity. The consequent slackening or cessation of produc- 
tion in that line throws nobody out of employment. The suspended 
workers are at once found occupation in some other department of 
the vast workshop and lose only the time spent in changing, while, as 
for the glut, the business of the nation is large enough to carry 
any amount of product manufactured in excess of demand till the 
latter overtakes it. In such a case of overproduction, as I have supposed, 
there is not with us, as with you, any complex machinery to get out 
of order and magnify a thousand times the original mistake. Of course, 
having not even money, we still less have credit. All estimates deal 
directly with the real things, the flour, iron, wood, wool, and labor, of 
which money and credit were for you the very misleading representa- 
tives. In our calculations of cost there can be no mistakes. Out of the 
annual product the amount necessary for the support of the people is 
taken, and the requisite labor to produce the next year's consumption 
provided for. The residue of the material and labor represents what 
can be safely expended in improvements. If the crops are bad, the 
surplus for that year is less than usual, that is all. Except for slight 
occasional effects of such natural causes, there are no fluctuations of 
business, the material prosperity of the nation flows on uninter- 
ruptedly from generation to generation, like an ever broadening and 
deepening river. 

'Tour business crises, Mr. West," continued the doctor, "like 
either of the great wastes I mentioned before, were enough, alone, to 
have kept your noses to the grindstone forever; but I have still to speak 
of one other great cause of your poverty, and that was the idleness of 

Management Man; His Future 407 

a great part of your capital and labor. With us it is the business of 
the administration to keep in constant employment every ounce of 
available capital and labor in the country. In your day there was no 
general control of either capital or labor, and a large part of both 
failed to find employment. 'Capital/ you used to say, 'is naturally 
timid/ and it would certainly have been reckless if it had not been 
timid in an epoch when there was a large preponderance of probability 
that any particular business venture would end in failure. There was 
no time when, if security could have been guaranteed it, the amount 
of capital devoted to productive industry could not have been greatly 
increased. The proportion of it so employed underwent constant ex- 
traordinary fluctuations, according to the greater or less feeling of 
uncertainty as to the stability of the industrial situation, so that the 
output of the national industries greatly varied in different years. But 
for the same reason that the amount of capital employed at times of 
special insecurity was far less than at times of somewhat greater 
security, a very large proportion was never employed at all, because 
the hazard of business was always very great in the best of times. 

"It should be also noted that the great amount of capital always 
seeking employment where tolerable safety could be insured terribly 
embittered the competition between capitalists when a promising 
opening presented itself. The idleness of capital, the result of its 
timidity, of course meant the idleness of labor in corresponding degree. 
Moreover, every change in the adjustments of business, every slightest 
alteration in the condition of commerce or manufactures, not to 
speak of the innumerable business failures that took place yearly, even 
in the best of times, were constantly throwing a multitude of men 
out of employment for periods of weeks or months, or even years. A 
great number of these seekers after employment were constantly trav- 
ersing the country, becoming in time professional vagabonds, then 
criminals. 'Give us work!' was the cry of an army of the unemployed 
at nearly all seasons, and in seasons of dullness in business this army 
swelled to a host so vast and desperate as to threaten the stability of 
the government. Could there conceivably be a more conclusive dem- 
onstration of the imbecility of the system of private enterprise as a 
method for enriching a nation than the fact that, in an age of such 
general poverty and want of everything, capitalists had to throttle one 
another to find a safe chance to invest their capital and workmen 
rioted and burned because they could find no work to do? 

408 Looking Backward 

''Now, Mr. West/' continued Doctor Leete, '1 want you to bear 
in mind that these points of which I have been speaking indicate only 
negatively the advantages of the national organization of industry by 
showing certain fatal defects and prodigious imbecilities of the systems 
of private enterprise which are not found in it. These alone, you must 
admit, would pretty well explain why the nation is so much richer than 
in your day. But the larger half of our advantage over you, the positive 
side of it, I have yet barely spoken of. Supposing the system of private 
enterprise in industry were without any of the great leaks I have 
mentioned; that there were no waste on account of misdirected effort 
growing out of mistakes as to the demand, and inability to command 
a general view of the industrial field. Suppose, also, there were no 
neutralizing and duplicating of effort from competition. Suppose, also, 
there were no waste from business panics and crises through bank- 
ruptcy and long interruptions of industry, and also none from the 
idleness of capital and labor. Supposing these evils, which are essential 
to the conduct of industry by capital in private hands, could all be 
miraculously prevented, and the system yet retained; even then the 
superiority of the results attained by the modern industrial system of 
national control would remain overwhelming. 

''You used to have some pretty large textile manufacturing 
establishments, even in your day, although not comparable with ours. 
No doubt you have visited these great mills in your time, covering 
acres of ground, employing thousands of hands, and combining under 
one roof, under one control, the hundred distinct processes between, 
say, the cotton bale and the bale of glossy calicoes. You have admired 
the vast economy of labor as of mechanical force resulting from the 
perfect interworking with the rest of every wheel and every hand. No 
doubt you have reflected how much less the same force of workers 
employed in that factory would accomplish if they were scattered, 
each man working independently. Would you think it an exaggeration 
to say that the utmost product of those workers, working thus apart, 
however amicable their relations might be, was increased not merely 
by a percentage, but many fold, when their efforts were organized 
under one control? Well now, Mr. West, the organization of the 
industry of the nation under a single control, so that all its processes 
interlock, has multiplied the total product over the utmost that could 
be done under the former system, even leaving out of account the 
four great wastes mentioned, in the same proportion that the product 

Management Man; His Future 409 

of those mill workers was increased by cooperation. The effectiveness 
of the working force of a nation, under the myriad-headed leadership 
of private capital, even if the leaders were not mutual enemies, as 
compared with that which it attains under a single head, may be 
likened to the military efficiency of a mob, or a horde of barbarians 
with a thousand petty chiefs, as compared with that of a disciplined 
army under one general — such a fighting machine, for example, as the 
German army in the time of Von Moltke/' 

''After what you have told me," I said, '1 do not so much wonder 
that the nation is richer now than then, but that you are not all 

''Well,'' replied Doctor Leete, "we are pretty well off. The rate 
at which we live is as luxurious as we could wish. The rivalry of 
ostentation, which in your day led to extravagance in no way condu- 
cive to comfort, finds no place, of course, in a society of people 
absolutely equal in resources, and our ambition stops at the surround- 
ings which minister to the enjoyment of life. We might, indeed, have 
much larger incomes, individually, if we chose so to use the surplus of 
our product, but we prefer to expend it upon public works and 
pleasures in which all share, upon public halls and buildings, art 
galleries, bridges, statuary, means of transit, and the conveniences of 
our cities, great musical and theatrical exhibitions, and in providing 
on a vast scale for the recreations of the people. You have not begun 
to see how we live yet, Mr. West. At home we have comfort, but the 
splendor of our life is, on its social side, that which we share with 
our fellows. When you know more of it you will see where the money 
goes, as you used to say, and I think you will agree that we do well 
so to expend it." 

"I suppose," observed Doctor Leete, as we strolled homeward 
from the dining hall, "that no reflection would have cut the men of 
your wealth-worshiping century more keenly than the suggestion that 
they did not know how to make money. Nevertheless, that is just 
the verdict history has passed on them. Their system of unorganized 
and antagonistic industries was as absurd economically as it was 
morally abominable. Selfishness was their only science, and in in- 
dustrial production selfishness is suicide. Competition, which is the 
instinct of selfishness, is another word for dissipation of energy, while 
combination is the secret of efficient production; and not till the idea 
of increasing the individual hoard gives place to the idea of increasing 

410 Looking Backward 

the common stock can industrial combination be realized, and the 
acquisition of wealth really begin. Even if the principle of share-and- 
share-alike for all men were not the only humane and rational basis 
for a society, we should still enforce it as economically expedient, see- 
ing that until the disintegrating influence of self-seeking is suppressed 
no true concert of industry is possible/' 


y * 



Peter Diuckei outlined where management will obtain the 
managers oi tomorrow. But just what will management itseli 
look like tomorrow? Business organizations will he making 
major adjustments. In our new technology there will he in- 
corporated ''information technology/' a name coined by 
Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler. Here they explain 
how their interest in this subject was aroused: 

We had heard so much recently oi the bankruptcy of per- 
sonnel management as a staff function that we started to explore 
further. From there we passed quickly to the more exciting prob- 
lem oi the changing nature oi management in general. 

Our interest in the new technology, however, is not purely a 
by-product oi this other interest. Leavitfs research interests have 
long centered around experimental studies oi communication 
and organizational design, and WhisJer has been interested in 
the larger implication oi job specialization and also in the role 
oi the "odd" characters in the organization. 

Harold J. Leavitt is Proiessor oi Industrial Administration 
and Psychology in the Graduate School oi Industrial Admin- 
istration at Carnegie Institute oi Technology. Thomas L. 
Whisler has been a contributor to several proiessional jour- 
nals and the Encyclopedia Britannica. He is active in in- 
dustrial consulting and is Associate Proiessor oi Industrial 
RelationSy School oi Business, University oi Chicago. The 

*From: Harvard Business Review, November-December, 1958. 


412 Management in the 1980' s 

organization chait oi the future that Mr. Leavitt and Mr. 
WhisJer hwision will ''look something like a football balanced 
upon the point of a church beJI." That's quite a scrimmage 
of concepts, but the authors' projections into the future have 
a solid ring of authenticity. 


Management Man; His Future 413 

ver the last decade a new technology has begun to 
take hold in American business, one so new that its 
significance is still difficult to evaluate. While many aspects of this 
technology are uncertain, it seems clear that it will move into the 
managerial scene rapidly, with definite and far-reaching impact on 
managerial organization. In this article we would like to speculate 
about these effects, especially as they apply to medium-size and large 
business firms of the future. 

The new technology does not yet have a single established name. 
We shall call it inioimation technology. It is composed of several 
related parts. One includes techniques for processing large amounts 
of information rapidly, and it is epitomized by the high-speed com- 
puter. A second part centers around the application of statistical and 
mathematical methods to decision-making problems; it is represented 
by techniques like mathematical programing, and by methodologies 
like operations research. A third part is in the offing, though its 
applications have not yet emerged very clearly; it consists of the 
simulation of higher-order thinking through computer programs. 

Information technology is likely to have its greatest impact on 
middle and top management. In many instances it will lead to 
opposite conclusions from those dictated by the currently popular 
philosophy of ''participative'' management. Broadly, our prognostica- 
tions are along the following lines: 

(1 ) Information technology should move the boundary between plan- 
ning and performance upward. Just as planning was taken from the hourly 
worker and given to the industrial engineer, we now expect it to be taken 
from a number of middle managers and given to as yet largely nonexistent 
specialists: ''operations researchers," perhaps, or "organizational analysts." 
Jobs at today's middle-management level will become highly structured. 
Much more of the work will be programed, i.e., covered by sets of operat- 
ing rules governing the day-to-day decisions that are made. 

(2) Correlatively, we predict that large industrial organizations will 
recentralize, that top managers will take on an even larger proportion of the 
innovating, planning, and other "creative" functions than they have now. 

(3) A radical reorganization of middle-management levels should 

414 Management in the 1980* s 

occur, with certain classes of middle-management jobs moving down- 
ward in status and compensation (because they will require less autonomy 
and skill), while other classes move upward into the top-management 

(4) We suggest, too, that the line separating the top from the middle 
of the organization will be drawn more clearly and impenetrably than ever, 
much like the line drawn in the last few decades between hourly workers 
and first-line supervisors. 


Information technology has diverse roots — with contributions 
from such disparate groups as sociologists and electrical engineers. 
Working independently, people from many disciplines have been 
worring about problems that have turned out to be closely related and 
cross-fertilizing. Cases in point are the engineers' development of 
servomechanisms and the related developments of general cybernetics 
and information theory. These ideas from the ''hard" sciences all had 
a direct bearing on problems of processing information — in particular, 
the development of techniques for conceptualizing and measuring 

Related ideas have also emerged from other disciplines. The 
mathematical economist came along with game theory, a means of 
ordering and permitting analysis of strategies and tactics in purely 
competitive ''think"-type games. Operations research fits in here, too; 
OR people made use of evolving mathematical concepts, or devised 
their own, for solving multivariate problems without necessarily 
worrying about the particular context of the variables. And from social 
psychology ideas about communication structures in groups began to 
emerge, followed by ideas about thinking and general problem-solving 

All of these developments, and many others from even more 
diverse sources, have in common a concern about the systematic 
manipulation of information in individuals, groups, or machines. The 
relationships among the ideas are not yet clear, nor has the wheat been 
adequately separated from the chaff. It is hard to tell who started 
what, what preceded what, and which is method and which theory. 

Management Man: His Future 415 

But, characteristically, application has not, and probably will not in 
the future, wait on completion of basic research. 

Distinctive Features 

We call information technology ''new" because one did not see 
much use of it until World War II, and it did not become clearly 
visible in industry until a decade later. It is new, also, in that it can 
be differentiated from at least two earlier industrial technologies: 

(1) In the first two decades of this century, Frederick W. Taylor's 
scientiEc management constituted a new and influential technology — one 
that took a large part in shaping the design of industrial organizations. 

(2) Largely after World War II a second distinct technology, partici- 
pative management, seriously overtook — and even partially displaced — 
scientific management. Notions about decentralization, morale, and human 
relations modified and sometimes reversed earlier applications of scientific 
management. Individual incentives, for example, were treated first as 
simple applications of Taylorism, but they have more recently been revised 
in the light of 'participative" ideas. 

The scientific and participative varieties both survived. One rea- 
son is that scientific management concentrated on the hourly worker, 
while participative management has generally aimed one level higher, 
at middle managers, so they have not conflicted. But what will happen 
now? The new information technology has direct implications for 
middle management as well as top management. 

Current Picture 

The inroads made by this technology are already apparent, so that 
our predictions are more extrapolations than derivations.^ But the sig- 
nificance of the new trends has been obscured by the wave of interest 
in participative management and decentralization. Information tech- 
nology seems now to show itself mostly in the periphery of man- 
agement. Its applications appear to be independent of central organi- 
zational issues like communication and creativity. We have tended 
until now to use little pieces of the new technology to generate 

1 Two examples of current developments are discussed in "Putting Arma Back on 
Its Feet," Business Weelc, February 1, 1958, p. 84; and 'Two- Way Overhaul Rebuilds 
Raytheon," Business Week, February 22, 1958, p. 91. 

416 Management in the 1980' s 

information, or to lay down limits for subtasks that can then be used 
within the old structural framework. 

Some of this sparing use of information technology may be due 
to the fact that those of us with a large commitment to participative 
management have cause to resist the central implications of the new 
techniques. But the implications are becoming harder to deny. Many 
business decisions once made judgmentally now can be made better by 
following some simple routines devised by a staff man whose company 
experience is slight, whose position on the organization chart is still 
unclear, and whose skill (if any) in human relations was picked up on 
the playground. For example: 

We have heard recently of an electric utility which is considering a 
move to take away from generating-station managers virtually all responsi- 
bility for deciding when to use stand-by generating capacity. A typical de- 
cision facing such managers develops on hot summer afternoons. In an- 
ticipation of heavy home air-conditioning demand at the close of working 
hours, the manager may put on extra capacity in late afternoon. This re- 
sults in additional costs, such as overtime premiums. In this particular 
geographical area, rapidly moving cold fronts are frequent. Should such a 
front arrive after the commitment to added capacity is made, losses are 
substantial. If the front fails to arrive and capacity has not been added, 
power must be purchased from an adjacent system at penalty rates — again 
resulting in losses. 

Such decisions may soon be made centrally by individuals whose tech- 
nical skills are in mathematics and computer programing, with absolutely 
no experience in generating stations. 

Rapid Spread . • 

We believe that information technology will spread rapidly. One 
important reason for expecting fast changes in current practices is that 
information technology will make centralization much easier. By 
permitting more information to be organized more simply and proc- 
essed more rapidly it will, in effect, extend the thinking range of 
individuals. It will allow the top level of management intelligently to 
categorize, digest, and act on a wider range of problems. Moreover, 
by quantifying more information it will extend top management's 
control over the decision processes of subordinates. 

If centralization becomes easier to implement, managers will 


Management Man: His Future 417 

probably revert to it. Decentralization has, after all, been largely nega- 
tively motivated. Top managers have backed into it because they have 
been unable to keep up with size and technology. They could not 
design and maintain the huge and complex communication systems 
that their large, centralized organizations needed. Information tech- 
nology should make recentralization possible. It may also obviate 
other major reasons for decentralization. For example, speed and flex- 
ibility will be possible despite large size, and top executives will be 
less dependent on subordinates because there will be fewer ''experi- 
ence" and ''judgment" areas in which the junior men have more work- 
ing knowledge. In addition, more efhcient information-processing 
techniques can be expected to shorten radically the feedback loop that 
tests the accuracy of original observations and decisions. 

Some of the psychological reasons for decentralization may re- 
main as compelling as ever. For instance, decentralized organizations 
probably provide a good training ground for the top manager. They 
make better use of the whole man; they encourage more active co- 
operation. But though interest in these advantages should be very 
great indeed, it will be counterbalanced by interest in the possibilities 
of effective top-management control over the work done by the middle 
echelons. Here an analogy to Taylorism seems appropriate: 

In perspective, and discounting the counter-trends instigated by par- 
ticipative management, the upshot of Taylorism seems to have been the 
separating of the hourly worker from the rest of the organization, and the 
acceptance by both management and the worker of the idea that the 
worker need not plan and create. Whether it is psychologically or socially 
justifiable or not, his creativity and ingenuity are left largely to be acted 
out off the job in his home or his community. One reason, then, that we 
expect top acceptance of information technology is its implicit promise to 
allow the top to control the middle just as Taylorism allowed the middle 
to control the bottom. 

There are other reasons for expecting fast changes. Information 
technology promises to allow fewer people to do more work. The more 
it can reduce the number of middle managers, the more top managers 
will be willing to try it. 

We have not yet mentioned what may well be the most compel- 
ling reason of all: the pressure on management to cope with increas- 
ingly complicated engineering, logistics, and marketing problems. The 

418 Management in the 1980' s 

temporal distance between the discovery of new knowledge and its 
practical application has been shrinking rapidly, perhaps at a geometric 
rate. The pressure to reorganize in order to deal with the complicating, 
speeding world should become very great in the next decade. Impro- 
visations and ''adjustments" within present organizational frameworks 
are likely to prove quite inadequate; radical rethinking of organiza- 
tional ideas is to be expected. 

Revolutionary Effects 

Speculating a little more, one can imagine some radical effects 
of an accelerating development of information technology — effects 
warranting the adjective ''revolutionary." 

Within the organization, for example, many middle-management 
jobs may change in a manner reminiscent of (but faster than) the 
transition from shoemaker to stitcher, from old-time craftsman to 
today's hourly worker. As we have drawn an organizational class line 
between the hourly worker and the foreman, we may expect a new 
line to be drawn heavily, though jaggedly, between "top manage- 
ment" and "middle management," with some vice presidents and 
many ambitious suburban junior executives falling on the lower side. 

In one respect, the picture we might paint for the 1980's bears a 
strong resemblance to the organizations of certain other societies — 
e.g., to the family-dominated organizations of Italy and other parts of 
Europe, and even to a small number of such firms in our own country. 
There will be many fewer middle managers, and most of those who 
remain are likely to be routine technicians rather than thinkers. This 
similarity will be superficial, of course, for the changes we forecast 
here will be generated from quite different origins. 

What organizational and social problems are likely to come up as 
by-products of such changes? One can imagine major psychological 
problems arising from the depersonalization of relationships within 
management and the greater distance between people at different 
levels. Major resistances should be expected in the process of convert- 
ing relatively autonomous and unprogramed middle-management jobs 
to highly routinized programs. 

These problems may be of the same order as some of those that 
were influential in the development of American unions and in focus- 
ing middle management's interest on techniques for overcoming the 

Management Man: His Future 419 

hourly workers' resistance to change. This time it will be the top 
executive who is directly concerned, and the problems of resistance 
to change will occur among those middle managers who are pro- 
gramed out of their autonomy, perhaps out of their current status in 
the company, and possibly even out of their jobs. 

On a broader social scale one can conceive of large problems 
outside the firm, that affect many institutions ancillary to industry. 

What about education for management? How do we educate people 
for routinized middle-management jobs, especially if the path from those 
jobs up to top management gets much rockier? 

To what extent do business schools stop training specialists and start 
training generalists to move directly into top management? 

To what extent do schools start training new kinds of specialists? 

What happens to the traditional apprentice system of training within 
managerial ranks? 

What will happen to American class structure? Do we end up with a 
new kind of managerial elite? Will technical knowledge be the major 
criterion for membership? 

Will technical knowledge become obsolete so fast that managers them- 
selves will become obsolete within the time span of their industrial careers? 


Some jobs in industrial organizations are more programed than 
others. The job that has been subjected to micromotion analysis, for 
instance, has been highly programed; rules about what is to be done, 
in what order, and by what processes, are all specified. 

Characteristically, the jobs of today's hourly workers tend to be 
highly programed — an effect of Taylorism. Conversely, the jobs shown 
at the tops of organization charts are often largely unprogramed. They 
are "think" jobs — hard to define and describe operationally. Jobs that 
appear in the big middle area of the organization chart tend to be pro- 
gramed in part, with some specific rules to be followed, but with vary- 
ing amounts of room for judgment and autonomy.^ One major effect 
of information technology is likely to be intensive programing of 

2 See Robert N. McMurry, "The Case for Benevolent Autocracy," HBR January- 
February 1958, p. 82. 

420 Management in the 1980's 

many jobs now held by middle managers and the concomitant ''de- 
programing'' of others. 

As organizations have proliferated in size and specialization, the 
problem of control and integration of supervisory and staff levels has 
become increasingly worrisome. The best answer until now has been 
participative management. But information technology promises bet- 
ter answers. It promises to eliminate the risk of less than adequate 
decisions arising from garbled communications, from misconceptions 
of goals, and from unsatisfactory measurement of partial contributions 
on the part of dozens of line and staff specialists. 

Good illustrations of this programing process are not common in 
middle management, but they do exist, mostly on the production side 
of the business. For example, the programmers have had some suc- 
cesses in displacing the judgment and experience of production sched- 
ulers (although the scheduler is still likely to be there to act out the 
routines) and in displacing the weekly scheduling meetings of pro- 
duction, sales, and supply people. Programs are also being worked 
out in increasing numbers to yield decisions about product mixes, 
warehousing, capital budgeting, and so forth.^ 

Predicting the Impact 

We have noted that not all middle-management jobs will be af- 
fected alike by the new technology. What kinds of jobs will become 
more routinized, and what kinds less? What factors will make the dif- 

The impact of change is likely to be determined by three criteria: 

1. Ease of measurement — It is easier, at this stage, to apply the new 
techniques to jobs in and around production than in, say, labor relations, 
one reason being that quantitative measurement is easier in the former 

2. Economic pressure — Jobs that call for big money decisions will 
tend to get earlier investments in exploratory programing than others. 

3. The acceptabiJity of programing by the present jobholder — For 
some classes of jobs and of people, the advent of impersonal rules may 
offer protection or relief from frustration. We recently heard, for example, 
of efforts to program a maintenance foreman's decisions by providing rules 
for allocating priorities in maintenance and emergency repairs. The foreman 

3 See the journals, Operations Research and Management Science. 

Management Man: His Future 421 

supported this fully. He was a harried and much blamed man, and pro- 
graming promised relief. 

Such factors should accelerate the use of programing in certain 
areas. So should the great interest and activity in the new techniques 
now apparent in academic and research settings. New journals are ap- 
pearing, and new societies are springing up, like the Operations Re- 
search Society of America (established in 1946), and the Institute of 
Management Sciences (established in 1954), both of which publish 

The number of mathematicians and economic analysts who are 
being taken into industry is impressive, as is the development within 
industry, often on the personal staffs of top management, of indi- 
viduals or groups with new labels like ''operations researchers," ''or- 
ganization analysts,'' or simply "special assistants for planning." These 
new people are a cue to the emergence of information technology. Just 
as programing the operations of hourly workers created the industrial 
engineer, so should information technology, as planning is withdrawn 
from middle levels, create new planners with new names at the top 

So much for work becoming more routinized. At least two classes 
of middle jobs should move upward toward deprogramedness: 

(1) The programmers themselves, the new information engineers, 
should move up. They should appear increasingly in staff roles close to the 

(2) We would also expect jobs in research and development to go 
in that direction, for innovation and creativity will become increasingly 
important to top management as the rate of obsolescence of things and of 
information increases. Application of new techniques to scanning and 
analyzing the business environment is bound to increase the range and 
number of possibilities for profitable production. Competition between 
firms should center more and more around their capacities to innovate. 

Thus, in effect, we think that the horizontal slice of the current 
organization chart that we call middle management will break in two, 
with the larger portion shrinking and sinking into a more highly pro- 
gramed state and the smaller portion proliferating and rising to a 
level where more creative thinking is needed. There seem to be signs 
that such a split is already occurring. The growth of literature on the 

422 Management in the 1980' s 

organization of research activities in industry is one indication.* Many 
social scientists and industrial research managers, as well as some 
general managers, are worrying more and more about problems of 
creativity and authority in industrial research organizations. Even 
some highly conservative company presidents have been forced to 
break time-honored policies (such as the one relating salary and status 
to organizational rank) in dealing with their researchers. 

Individual Problems 

As the programing idea grows, some old human relations prob- 
lems may be redefined. Redefinition will not necessarily solve the 
problems, but it may obviate some and give new priorities to others. 

Thus, the issue of morale versus productivity that now worries us 
may pale as programing moves in. The morale of programed person- 
nel may be of less central concern because less (or at least a different 
sort of) productivity will be demanded of them. The execution of 
controllable routine acts does not require great enthusiasm by the 

Another current issue may also take a new form: the debate 
about the social advantages or disadvantages of ''conformity." The 
stereotype of the conforming junior executive, more interested in 
being well liked than in working, should become far less significant in 
a highly depersonalized, highly programed, and more machine-like 
middle-management world. Of course, the pressures to conform will 
in one sense become more intense, for the individual will be required 
to stay within the limits of the routines that are set for him. But the 
constant behavioral pressure to be a ''good guy," to get along, will 
have less reason for existence. 

As for individualism, our suspicion is that the average middle 
manager will have to satisfy his personal needs and aspirations off the 
job, largely as we have forced the hourly worker to do. In this case, the 
Park Forest of the future may be an even more interesting phenome- 
non than it is now. 

4 Much of the work in this area is still unpublished. However, for some examples, 
see Herbert A. Shepard, "Superiors and Subordinates in Research," Journal oi Business 
of the Univeisity oi Chicago, October 1956, p. 261; and also Donald C. Pelz, "Some 
Social Factors Related to Performance in a Research Organization," Administrative 
Science Quarterly, December 1956, p. 310. 

Management Man; His Future 423 


If the new technology tends to spht middle management — thin 
it, simplify it, program it, and separate a large part of it more rigor- 
ously from the top — -what compensatory changes might one expect 
within the top group? 

This is a much harder question to answer. We can guess that the 
top will focus even more intensively on ''horizon" problems, on prob- 
lems of innovation and change. We can forecast, too, that in dealing 
with such problems the top will continue for a while to fly by the 
seat of its pants, that it will remain largely unprogramed. 

But even this is quite uncertain. Current research on the machine 
simulation of higher mental processes suggests that we will be able 
to program much of the top job before too many decades have passed. 
There is good authority for the prediction that within ten years a 
digital computer will be the world's chess champion, and that another 
will discover and prove an important new mathematical theorem; and 
that in the somewhat more distant future ''the way is open to deal 
scientifically with ill-structured problems — to make the computer co- 
extensive with the human mind."^ 

Meanwhile, we expect top management to become more ab- 
stract, more search-and-research-oriented and correspondingly less di- 
rectly involved in the making of routine decisions. Allen Newell re- 
cently suggested to one of the authors that the wave of top-manage- 
ment game playing may be one manifestation of such change. Top 
management of the 1980's may indeed spend a good deal of money 
and time playing games, trying to simulate its own behavior in hypo- 
thetical future environments. 

Room for Innovators 

As the work of the middle manager is programed, the top man- 
ager should be freed more than ever from internal detail. But the top 
will not only be released to think; it will be foiced to think. We doubt 
that many large companies in the 1980's will be able to survive for 
even a decade without major changes in products, methods, or in- 
ternal organization. The rate of obsolescence and the atmosphere of 

5 See Herbert A. Simon and Allen Newell, "Heuristic Problem Solving: The Next 
Advance in Operations Research/' Operations Research, January-February 1958, p. 9. 

424 Management in the 1980* s 

continuous change which now characterize industries hke chemicals 
and pharmaceuticals should spread rapidly to other industries, pres- 
suring them toward rapid technical and organizational change. 

These ideas lead one to expect that researchers, or people like re- 
searchers, will sit closer to the top floor of American companies in larger 
numbers; and that highly creative people will be more sought after 
and more highly valued than at present. But since researchers may be 
as interested in technical problems and professional affiliations as in 
progress up the organizational ladder, we might expect more imper- 
sonal, problem-oriented behavior at the top, with less emphasis on 
loyalty to the firm and more on relatively rational concern with solving 
difficult problems. 

Again, top staff people may follow their problems from firm to 
firm much more closely than they do now, so that ideas about execu- 
tive turnover and compensation may change along with ideas about 
tying people down with pension plans. Higher turnover at this level 
may prove advantageous to companies, for innovators can burn out 
fast. We may see more brain picking of the kind which is now sup- 
posedly characteristic of Madison Avenue. At this creating and in- 
novating level, all the current work on organization and communica- 
tion in research groups may find its payoff. 

Besides innovators and creators, new top-management bodies will 
need programmers who will focus on the internal organization itself. 
These will be the operations researchers, mathematical programmers, 
computer experts, and the like. It is not clear where these kinds of 
people are being located on organization charts today, but our guess is 
that the programmer will find a place close to the top. He will prob- 
ably remain relatively free to innovate and to carry out his own applied 
research on what and how to program (although he may eventually 
settle into using some stable repertory of techniques as has the in- 
dustrial engineer). 

Innovators and programmers will need to be supplemented by 
''committors." Committors are people who take on the role of ap- 
proving or vetoing decisions. They will commit the organization's re- 
sources to a particular course of action — the course chosen from some 
alternatives provided by innovators and programmers. The current 
notion that managers ought to be ''coordinators'' should flower in 
the 1980's, but at the top rather than the middle; and the people to be 
coordinated will be top staff groups. 

Management Man: His Future 425 

Tight Little Oligarchy 

We surmise that the '"groupthink" which is frightening some 
people today will be a commonplace in top management of the future. 
For while the innovators and the programmers may maintain or even 
increase their autonomy, and while the committor may be more inde- 
pendent than ever of lower-line levels, the interdependence of the 
top-staff oligarchy should increase with the increasing complexity of 
their tasks. The committor may be forced increasingly to have the 
top men operate as a committee, which would mean that the precise 
individual locus of decision may become even more obscure than it is 
today. The small-group psychologists, the researchers on creativity, 
the clinicians — all should find a surfeit of work at that level. 

Our references to a small oligarchy at the top may be misleading. 
There is no reason to believe that the absolute numbers of creative 
research people or programmers will shrink; if anything, the reverse 
will be true. It is the head men in these areas who will probably oper- 
ate as a little oligarchy, with subgroups and sub-subgroups of re- 
searchers and programmers reporting to them. But the optimal struc- 
tural shape of these unprogramed groups will not necessarily be pyr- 
amidal. It is more likely to be shifting and somewhat amorphous, while 
the operating, programed portions of the structure ought to be more 
clearly pyramidal than ever. 

The organization chart of the future may look something like a 
football balanced upon the point of a church bell. Within the foot- 
ball (the top staff organization), problems of coordination, individual 
autonomy, group decision making, and so on should arise more in- 
tensely than ever. We expect they will be dealt with quite independ- 
ently of the bell portion of the company, with distinctly different 
methods of remuneration, control, and communication. 


With the emergence of information technology, radical changes 
in certain administrative practices may also be expected. Without at- 
tempting to present the logic for the statements, we list a few changes 
that we foresee: 

426 Management in the 1980' s 

With the organization of management into corps (supervisors, pro- 
grammers, creators, committors), multiple entry points into the organiza- 
tion will become increasingly common. 

Multiple sources of potential managers will develop, with training 
institutions outside the firm specializing along the lines of the new organi- 
zational structure. 

Apprenticeship as a basis for training managers will be used less and 
less since movement up through the line will become increasingly un- 

Top-management training will be taken over increasingly by universi- 
ties, with on-the-job training done through jobs like that of assistant to a 
senior executive. 

Appraisal of higher management performance will be handled through 
some devices little used at present, such as evaluation by peers. 

Appraisal of the new middle managers will become much more precise 
than present rating techniques make possible, with the development of 
new methods attaching specific values to input-output parameters. 

Individual compensation for top staff groups will be more strongly in- 
fluenced by market forces than ever before, given the increased mobility of 
all kinds of managers. 

With the new organizational structure new kinds of compensation 
practices — such as team bonuses — will appear. 

Immediate Measures 

If the probability seems high that some of our predictions are 
correct, what can businessmen do to prepare for them? A number of 
steps are inexpensive and relatively easy. Managers can, for example, 
explore these areas: 

(1) They can locate and work up closer liaison with appropriate re- 
search organizations, academic and otherwise, just as many companies have 
profited from similar relationships in connection with the physical sciences. 

(2) They can re-examine their own organizations for lost information 
technologists. Many companies undoubtedly have such people, but not all 
of the top executives seem to know it. 

(3) They can make an early study and reassessment of some of the 
organizationally fuzzy groups in their own companies. Operations research 
departments, departments of organization, statistical analysis sections, per- 
haps even personnel departments, and other "odd-balF' staff groups often 
contain people whose knowledge and ideas in this realm have not been 

Management Man: His Future 427 

recognized. Such people provide a potential nucleus for serious major 
efforts to plan for the inroads of information technology. 

Perhaps the biggest step managers need to take is an internal, 
psychological one. In view of the fact that information technology 
v^ill challenge many long-established practices and doctrines, we will 
need to rethink some of the attitudes and values which we have taken 
for granted. In particular, we may have to reappraise our traditional 
notions about the worth of the individual as opposed to the organi- 
zation, and about the mobility rights of young men on the make. This 
kind of inquiry may be painfully difficult, but will be increasingly 





Edward Bdhmy's portrait of the future was not fanciful 
enough to include an accurate picture oi ''the Abundant 
Society;' ''the Affluent Society/' "the People oi Plenty"— 
all contemporary designations foi the economic landscape oi 
management man. When management man and woman are 
busy trying to rub together two credit cards to engender 
enough cash to pay a split-level mortgage, the adjectives oi 
abundance seem like sauce poivrade on hamburger — we're 
overfed and undernourished. 

But suppose, just suppose, you had everything you wanted 
— and that the economies oi our society iorced you to have 
more than you wanted, how would you End relief? Turn to 
Frederik Pohl. 

"He has succeeded," says Eric Larrabee in The Self- 
Conscious Society, "in posing — and, to a degree, resolving — 
one oi the critical dilemmas oi the mid-twentieth century. 
Pohl imagines a future in which industrial production has 
been entirely taken over by robots, while human beings — in 
order to keep the economic machinery going — are required 
only to consume. But consume they must. In this hypotheti- 
cal society consumption has become obligatory; everyone has 
a quota — clothes, iood, car, recreation, and the rest — and is 
severely penalized for iailing to live up to it . . . 

'Trivilege, in PohVs iantasy, consists in the right not to 
consume. The lower classes are iorced to engorge the most; 

* From: Galaxy Magazine, 1954 

430 The Midas Plague 

they have to eat too much and drive around in oveidecoiated 
automobiles. Only those oi the highest rank are allowed to he 
thin, or have unpretentious possessions, or do any woik . . . 

'Xike much science Ection, Mr. PohVs story is a work 
of pungent social criticism " 

"We know ourselves by our extremes'' says Frederik 
Pohh ''Science Ection at its best is a mirror in which we see 
our world, our future and ourselves." 

Here is management man — the consumer — in a world that 
has alJ but consumed him. 

Management Man: His Future 431 


nd so they were married. 

The bride and groom made a beautiful couple, she 
in her twenty-yard frill of immaculate white, he in his formal gray 
rufHed blouse and pleated pantaloons. 

It was a small wedding — the best he could afford. For guests, 
they had only the immediate family and a few close friends. And when 
the minister had performed the ceremony, Morey Fry kissed his bride 
and they drove off to the reception. There were twenty-eight limou- 
sines in all (though it is true that twenty of them contained only the 
caterer's robots) and three flower cars. 

''Bless you both," said old man Elon sentimentally. 'TouVe got 
a fine girl in our Cherry, Morey." He blew his nose on a ragged square 
of cambric. 

The old folks behaved very well, Morey thought. At the recep- 
tion, surrounded by the enormous stacks of wedding gifts, they drank 
the champagne and ate a great many of the tiny, delicious canapes. 
They listened politely to the fifteen-piece orchestra, and Cherry's 
mother even danced one dance with Morey for sentiment's sake, 
though it was clear that dancing was far from the usual pattern of her 
life. They tried as hard as they could to blend into the gathering, but 
all the same, the two elderly figures in severely simple and probably 
rented garments were dismayingly conspicuous in the quarter-acre of 
tapestries and tinkling fountains that was the main ballroom of 
Morey's country home. 

When it was time for the guests to go home and let the newly- 
weds begin their life together Cherry's father shook Morey by the 
hand and Cherry's mother kissed him. But as they drove away in their 
tiny runabout their faces were full of foreboding. 

It was nothing against Morey as a person, of course. But poor 
people should not marry wealth. 

Morey and Cherry loved each other, certainly. That helped. They 
told each other so, a dozen times an hour, all of the long hours they 
were together, for all of the first months of their marriage. Morey even 
took time off to go shopping with his bride, which endeared him to 
her enormously. They drove their shopping carts through the im- 

432 The Midas Plague 

mense vaulted corridors of the supermarket, Morey checking off the 
items on the shopping Hst as Cherry picked out the goods. It was fun. 

For a while. 

Their first fight started in the supermarket, between Breakfast 
Foods and Floor Furnishings, just where the new Precious Stones de- 
partment was being opened. 

Morey called off from the list, ''Diamond lavaliere, costume rings, 

Cherry said rebelliously, ''Morey, I have a lavaliere. Please, dear!" 

Morey folded back the pages of the list uncertainly. The lavaliere 
was on there, all right, and no alternative selection was shown. 

"How about a bracelet?" he coaxed. "Look, they have some nice 
ruby ones there. See how beautifully they go with your hair, darling!" 
He beckoned a robot clerk, who bustled up and handed Cherry the 
bracelet tray. "Lovely," Morey exclaimed as Cherry slipped the largest 
of the lot on her wrist. 

"And I don't have to have a lavaliere?" Cherry asked. 

"Of course not." He peeked at the tag. "Same number of ration 
points exactly!" Since Cherry looked only dubious, not convinced, he 
said briskly, "And now we'd better be getting along to the shoe de- 
partment. Fve got to pick up some dancing pumps." 

Cherry made no objection, neither then nor throughout the rest 
of their shopping tour. At the end, while they were sitting in the 
supermarket's ground-floor lounge waiting for the robot accountants 
to tote up their bill and the robot cashiers to stamp their ration books, 
Morey remembered to have the shipping department save out the 

"I don't want that sent with the other stuff, darling," he ex- 
plained. "I want you to wear it right now. Honestly, I don't think I 
ever saw anything looking so right for you." 

Cherry looked flustered and pleased. Morey was delighted with 
himself; it wasn't everybody who knew how to handle these little 
domestic problems just right! 

He stayed self-satisfied all the way home, while Henry, their 
companion-robot, regaled them with funny stories of the factory in 
which it had been built and trained. Cherry wasn't used to Henry by 
a long shot, but it was hard not to like the robot. Jokes and funny 
stories when you needed amusement, sympathy when you were de- 
pressed, a never-failing supply of news and information on any subject 

Management Man: His Future 433 

you cared to name — Henry was easy enough to take. Cherry even 
made a special point of asking Henry to keep them company through 
dinner, and she laughed as thoroughly as Morey himself at its droll 

But later, in the conservatory, when Henry had considerately left 
them alone, the laughter dried up. 

Morey didn't notice. He was very conscientiously making the 
rounds: turning on the tri-D, selecting their after-dinner liqueurs, 
scanning the evening newspapers. 

Cherry cleared her throat self-consciously, and Morey stopped 
what he was doing. ''Dear," she said tentatively, 'I'm feeling kind of 
restless tonight. Could we — I mean do you think we could just sort of 
stay home and — well, relax?" 

Morey looked at her with a touch of concern. She lay back 
wearily, eyes half closed. "Are you feeling all right?" he asked. 

"Perfectly. I just don't want to go out tonight, dear. I don't feel 
up to it." 

He sat down and automatically lit a cigarette. "I see," he said. 
The tri-D was beginning a comedy show; he got up to turn it off, 
snapping on the tape-player. Muted strings filled the room. 

"We had reservations at the club tonight," he reminded her. 

Cherry shifted uncomfortably. "I know." 

"And we have the opera tickets that I turned last week's in for. 
I hate to nag, darling, but we haven't used any of our opera tickets." 

"We can see them right here on the tri-D," she said in a small 

"That has nothing to do with it, sweetheart. I — I didn't want to 
tell you about it, but Wainwright, down at the office, said something 
to me yesterday. He told me he would be at the circus last night and 
as much as said he'd be looking to see if we were there, too. Well, we 
weren't there. Heaven knows what I'll tell him next week." 

He waited for Cherry to answer, but she was silent. 

He went on reasonably, "So if you could see your way clear to 
going out tonight — " 

He stopped, slack-jawed. Cherry was crying, silently and in quan- 

"Darling!" he said inarticulately. 

He hurried to her, but she fended him off. He stood helpless over 
her, watching her cry. 

434 The Midas Plague 

''Dear, what's the matter?" he asked. 

She turned her head away. 

Morey rocked back on his heels. It wasn't exactly the first time 
he'd seen Cherry cry — there had been that poignant scene when they 
Gave Each Other Up, realizing that their backgrounds were too far 
apart for happiness, before the realization that they had to have each 
other, no matter what. . . . But it was the first time her tears had made 
him feel guilty. 

And he did feel guilty. He stood there staring at her. 

Then he turned his back on her and walked over to the bar. He 
ignored the ready liqueurs and poured two stiff highballs, brought 
them back to her. He set one down beside her, took a long drink from 
the other. 

In quite a different tone, he said, ''Dear, what's the matter.?" 

No answer. 

"Come on. What is it?" 

She looked up at him and rubbed at her eyes. Almost sullenly, 
she said, "Sorry." 

"I know you're sorry. Look, we love each other. Let's talk this 
thing out." 

She picked up her drink and held it for a moment, before setting 
it down untasted. "What's the use, Morey?" 

"Please. Let's try." 

She shrugged. 

He went on remorselessly, "You aren't happy, are you? And it's 
because of — well, all this." His gesture took in the richly furnished 
conservatory, the thick-piled carpet, the host of machines and con- 
trivances for their comfort and entertainment that waited for their 
touch. By implication it took in twenty-six rooms, five cars, nine 
robots. Morey said, with an effort, "It isn't what you're used to, is it?" 

"I can't help it," Cherry said. "Morey, you know I've tried. But 
back home — " 

"Dammit," he flared, "this is your home. You don't live with 
your father any more in that five-room cottage; you don't spend your 
evenings hoeing the garden or playing cards for matchsticks. You 
live here, with me, your husband! You knew what you were getting 
into. We talked all this out long before we were married — " 

The words stopped, because words were useless. Cherry was cry- 
ing again, but not silently. 

Management Man: His Future 43 S 

Through her tears, she wailed: ''Darhng, Fve tried. You don't 
know how I've tried! I've worn all those silly clothes and I've played 
all those silly games and I've gone out with you as much as I possibly 
could and — I've eaten all that terrible food until I'm actually getting 
fa-fa-fat/ I thought I could stand it. But I just can't go on like this; 
I'm not used to it. I — I love you, Morey, but I'm going crazy, living 
like this. I can't help it, Morey — Fm tiied of being poor/" 

Eventually the tears dried up, and the quarrel healed, and the 
lovers kissed and made up. But Morey lay awake that night, listen- 
ing to his wife's gentle breathing from the suite next to his own, star- 
ing into the darkness as tragically as any pauper before him had ever 

Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the Earth. 

Blessed Morey, heir to more worldly goods than he could pos- 
sibly consume. 

Morey Fry, steeped in grinding poverty, had never gone hungry 
a day in his life, never lacked for anything his heart could desire in 
the way of food, or clothing, or a place to sleep. In Morey's world, no 
one lacked for these things; no one could. 

Malthus was right — for a civilization without machines, auto- 
matic factories, hydroponics and food synthesis, nuclear breeder 
plants, ocean-mining for metals and minerals . . . 

And a vastly increasing supply of labor . . . 

And architecture that rose high in the air and dug deep in the 
ground and floated far out on the water on piers and pontoons . . . 
architecture that could be poured one day and lived in the next . . . 

And robots. 

Above all, robots . . . robots to burrow and haul and smelt and 
fabricate, to build and farm and weave and sew. 

What the land lacked in wealth, the sea was made to yield and 
the laboratory invented the rest . . . and the factories became a pipe- 
line of plenty, churning out enough to feed and clothe and house a 
dozen worlds. 

Limitless discovery, infinite power in the atom, tireless labor of 
humanity and robots, mechanization that drove jungle and swamp 
and ice off the Earth, and put up office buildings and manufacturing 
centers and rocket ports in their place . . . 

436 The Midas Plague 

The pipeline of production spewed out riches that no king in 
the time of Malthus could have known. 

But a pipeline has two ends. The invention and power and labor 
pouring in at one end must somehow be drained out at the other . . . 

Lucky Morey, blessed economic-consuming unit, drowning in 
the pipeline's flood, striving manfully to eat and drink and wear and 
wear out his share of the ceaseless tide of wealth. 

Morey felt far from blessed, for the blessings of the poor are 
always best appreciated from afar. 

Quotas worried his sleep until he awoke at eight o'clock the next 
morning, red-eyed and haggard, but inwardly resolved. He had reached 
a decision. He was starting a new life. 

There was trouble in the morning mail. Under the letterhead 
of the National Ration Board, it said: 

''We regret to advise you that the following items returned by 
you in connection with your August quotas as used and no longer 
serviceable have been inspected and found insufficiently worn." The 
list followed — a long one, Morey saw to his sick disappointment. 
"Credit is hereby disallowed for these and you are therefore given an 
additional consuming quota for the current month in the amount of 
435 points, at least 350 points of which must be in the textile and 
home-furnishing categories." 

Morey dashed the letter to the floor. The valet picked it up emo- 
tionlessly, creased it and set it on his desk. 

It wasn't fair! All right, maybe the bathing trunks and beach 
umbrellas hadn't been ledly used very much — though how the devil, 
he asked himself bitterly, did you go about using up swimming gear 
when you didn't have time for such leisurely pursuits as swimming? 
But certainly the hiking slacks were used! He'd worn them for three 
whole days and part of a fourth; what did they expect him to do, go 
around in rags.^ 

Morey looked belligerently at the coffee and toast that the valet- 
robot had brought in with the mail, and then steeled his resolve. Un- 
fair or not, he had to play the game according to the rules. It was for 
Cherry, more than for himself, and the way to begin a new way of 
life was to begin it. 

Morey was going to consume for two. 

He told the valet-robot, 'Take that stuff back. I want cream and 
sugar with the coffee — lots of cream and sugar. And besides the toast, 

Manao:ernent Man: His Future 437 

scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, orange juice — no, make it half a grape- 
fruit. And orange juice, come to think of it." 

''Right away, sir,'' said the valet. 'Tou won't be having breakfast 
at nine then, will you, sir?" 

'1 certainly will," said Morey virtuously. ''Double portions!" As 
the robot was closing the door, he called after it, "Butter and marma- 
lade with the toast!" 

He went to the bath; he had a full schedule and no time to 
waste. In the shower, he carefully sprayed himself with lather three 
times. When he had rinsed the soap off, he went through the whole 
assortment of taps in order: three lotions, plain talcum, scented tal- 
cum and thirty seconds of ultra-violet. Then he lathered and rinsed 
again, and dried himself with a towel instead of using the hot-air dry- 
ing jets. Most of the miscellaneous scents went down the drain with 
the rinse water, but if the Ration Board accused him of waste, he 
could claim he was experimenting. The effect, as a matter of fact, 
wasn't bad at all. 

He stepped out, full of exuberance. Cherry was awake, staring in 
dismay at the tray the valet had brought. "Good morning, dear," she 
said faintly. "Ugh." 

Morey kissed her and patted her hand. "Well!" he said, looking 
at the tray with a big, hollow smile. "Food!" 

"Isn't that a lot for just the two of us?" 

"Two of us?" repeated Morey masterfully. "Nonsense, my dear, 
I'm going to eat it all by myself!" 

"Oh, Morey!" gasped Cherry, and the adoring look she gave him 
was enough to pay for a dozen such meals. 

Which, he thought as he finished his morning exercises with the 
sparring-robot and sat down to his real breakfast, it just about had to 
be, day in and day out, for a long, long time. 

Still, Morey had made up his mind. As he worked his way 
through the kippered herring, tea and crumpets, he ran over his plans 
with Henry. He swallowed a mouthful and said, "I want you to line up 
some appointments for me right away. Three hours a week in an ex- 
ercise gym — pick one with lots of reducing equipment, Henry. I think 
I'm going to need it. And fittings for some new clothes — I've had 
these for weeks. And, let's see, doctor, dentist — say, Henry, don't I 
have a psychiatrist's date coming up?" 

438 The Midas Plague 

'Indeed you do, sir!" it said warmly. "This morning, in fact. IVe 
already instructed the chauffeur and notified your office." 

''Fine! Well, get started on the other things, Henry." 

"Yes, sir," said Henry, and assumed the curious absent look of a 
robot talking on its TBR circuits — the "Talk Between Robots" radio 
— as it arranged the appointments for its master. 

Morey finished his breakfast in silence, pleased with his own 
virtue, at peace with the world. It wasn't so hard to be a proper, in- 
dustrious consumer if you worked at it, he reflected. It was only the 
malcontents, the ne'er-do-wells and the incompetents who simply 
could not adjust to the world around them. Well, he thought with 
distant pity, someone had to suffer; you couldn't break eggs without 
making an omelet. And his proper duty was not to be some sort of 
wild-eyed crank, challenging the social order and beating his breast 
about injustice, but to take care of his wife and his home. 

It was too bad he couldn't really get right down to work on 
consuming today. But this was his one day a week to hold a job — four 
of the other six days were devoted to solid consuming — and, besides, 
he had a group therapy session scheduled as well. His analysis, Morey 
told himself, would certainly take a sharp turn for the better, now 
that he had faced up to his problems. 

Morey was immersed in a glow of self-righteousness as he kissed 
Cherry good-by (she had finally got up, all in a confusion of delight 
at the new regime) and walked out the door to his car. He hardly 
noticed the little man in enormous floppy hat and garishly ruffled 
trousers who was standing almost hidden in the shrubs. 

"Hey, Mac." The man's voice was almost a whisper. 

"Huh? Oh— what is it?" 

The man looked around furtively. "Listen, friend," he said 
rapidly, "you look like an intelligent man who could use a little help. 
Times are tough; you help me, I'll help you. Want to make a deal 
on ration stamps? Six for one. One of yours for six of mine, the best 
deal you'll get anywhere in town. Naturally, my stamps aren't exactly 
the real McCoy, but they'll pass, friend, they'll pass — " 

Morey blinked at him. "No!" he said violently, and pushed the 
man aside. Now it's racketeers, he thought bitterly. Slums and endless 
sordid preoccupation with rations weren't enough to inflict on Cherry; 
now the neighborhood was becoming a hangout for people on the 
shady side of the law. It was not, of course, the first time he had ever 

Management Man: His Future 439 

been approached by a counterfeit ration-stamp hoodlum, but never 
at his own front door! 

Morey thought briefly, as he chmbed into his car, of calhng the 
pohce. But certainly the man would be gone before they could get 
there; and, after all, he had handled it pretty well as it was. 

Of course, it would be nice to get six stamps for one. 

But very far from nice if he got caught. 

''Good morning, Mr. Fry," tinkled the robot receptionist. ''Won't 
you go right in?" With a steel-tipped finger, it pointed to the door 
marked group therapy. 

Someday, Morey vowed to himself as he nodded and complied, 
he would be in a position to afford a private analyst of his own. Group 
therapy helped relieve the infinite stresses of modern living, and 
without it he might find himself as badly off as the hysterical mobs 
in the ration riots, or as dangerously anti-social as the counterfeiters. 
But it lacked the personal touch. It was, he thought, too public a 
performance of what should be a private affair, like trying to live a 
happy married life with an interfering, ever-present crowd of robots 
in the house — 

Morey brought himself up in panic. How had that thought crept 
in? He was shaken visibly as he entered the room and greeted the 
group to which he was assigned. 

There were eleven of them: four Freudians, two Reichians, two 
Jungians, a Gestalter, a shock therapist and the elderly and rather 
quiet Sullivanite. Even the members of the majority groups had their 
own individual differences in technique and creed, but, despite four 
years with this particular group of analysts, Morey hadn't quite been 
able to keep them separate in his mind. Their names, though, he 
knew well enough. 

''Morning, Doctors," he said. "What is it today?" 

"Morning," said Semmelweiss morosely. "Today you come into 
the room for the first time looking as if something is really bothering 
you, and yet the schedule calls for psychodrama. Dr. Fairless," he 
appealed, "can't we change the schedule a little bit? Fry here is 
obviously under a strain; that's the time to start digging and see what 
he can find. We can do your psychodrama next time, can't we?" 

Fairless shook his gracefully bald old head. "Sorry, Doctor. If it 
were up to me, of course — but you know the rules." 

440 The Midas Plague 

''Rules, rules/' jeered Semmelweiss. ''Ah, what's the use? Here's 
a patient in an acute anxiety state if I ever saw one — and believe me, 
I saw plenty — and we ignore it because the rules say ignore it. Is that 
professional? Is that how to cure a patient?" 

Little Blaine said frostily, "If I may say so. Dr. Semmelweiss, 
there have been a great many cures made without the necessity of 
departing from the rules. I myself, in fact — " 

"You yourself!" mimicked Semmelweiss. "You yourself never 
handled a patient alone in your life. When you going to get out of 
a group, Blaine?" 

Blaine said furiously, "Dr. Fairless, I don't think I have to stand 
for this sort of personal attack. Just because Semmelweiss has seniority 
and a couple of private patients one day a week, he thinks — " 

"Gentlemen," said Fairless mildly. "Please, let's get on with the 
work. Mr. Fry has come to us for help, not to listen to us losing our 

"Sorry," said Semmelweiss curtly. "All the same, I appeal from 
the arbitrary and mechanistic ruling of the chair." 

Fairless inclined his head. "All in favor of the ruling of the 
chair? Nine, I count. That leaves only you opposed, Dr. Semmelweiss. 
We'll proceed with the psychodrama, if the recorder will read us the 
notes and comments of the last session." 

The recorder, a pudgy, low-ranking youngster named Sprogue, 
flipped back the pages of his notebook and read in a chanting voice, 
"Session of twenty-fourth May, subject, Morey Fry; in attendance. 
Doctors Fairless, Bileck, Semmelweiss, Carrado, Weber — " 

Fairless interrupted kindly, "Just the last page, if you please. 
Dr. Sprogue." 

"Um — oh, yes. After a ten-minute recess for additional Ror- 
schachs and an electro-encephalogram, the group convened and con- 
ducted rapid-fire word association. Results were tabulated and com- 
pared with standard deviation patterns, and it was determined that 
subject's major traumas derived from, respectively — " 

Morey found his attention waning. Therapy was good; everybody 
knew that, but every once in a while he found it a little dull. If it 
weren't for therapy, though, there was no telling what might happen. 
Certainly, Morey told himself, he had been helped considerably — at 
least he hadn't set fire to his house and shrieked at the fire-robots, like 
Newell down the block when his eldest daughter divorced her hus- 

Management Man: His Future 441 

band and came back to live with him, bringing her ration quota along, 
of course. Morey hadn't even been tempted to do anything as outra- 
geously, frighteningly immoral as destroy things or waste them — well, 
he admitted to himself honestly, perhaps a little tempted, once in a 
great while. But never anything important enough to worry about; 
he was sound, perfectly sound. 

He looked up, startled. All the doctors were staring at him. ''Mr. 
Fry,'' Fairless repeated, ''will you take your place?" 

"Certainly," Morey said hastily. "Uh— where?" 

Semmelweiss guffawed. ''Told you. Never mind, Morey; you 
didn't miss much. We're going to run through one of the big scenes 
in your life, the one you told us about last time. Remember? You were 
fourteen years old, you said. Christmas time. Your mother had made 
you a promise." 

Morey swallowed. "I remember," he said unhappily. "Well, all 
right. Where do I stand?" 

"Right here," said Fairless. "You're you, Carrado is your mother, 
I'm your father. Will the doctors not participating mind moving 
back? Fine. Now, Morey, here we are on Christmas morning. Merry 
Christmas, Morey!" 

"Merry Christmas," Morey said half-heartedly. "Uh — Father dear, 
where's my — uh — my puppy that Mother promised me?" 

"Puppy!" said Fairless heartily. "Your mother and I have some- 
thing much better than a puppy for you. Just take a look under the 
tree there — it's a lohotl Yes, Morey, your very own robot — a full-size 
thirty-eight-tube fully automatic companion robot for you! Go ahead, 
Morey, go right up and speak to it. Its name is Henry. Go on, boy." 

Morey felt a sudden, incomprehensible tingle inside the bridge 
of his nose. He said shakily, "But I — I didn't want a robot." 

"Of course you want a robot," Carrado interrupted. "Go on, 
child, play with your nice robot." 

Morey said violently, "I hate robots!" He looked around him at 
the doctors, at the gray-paneled consulting room. He added defiantly, 
"You hear me, all of you? I still hate robots!" 

There was a second's pause; then the questions began. 

It was half an hour before the receptionist came in and announced 
that time was up. 

In that half hour, Morey had got over his trembling and lost his 

442 The Midas Plague 

wild, momentary passion, but he had remembered what for thirteen 
years he had forgotten. 
He hated robots. 

The surprising thing was not that young Morey had hated robots. 
It was that the Robot Riots, the ultimate violent outbreak of flesh 
against metal, the battle to the death between mankind and its 
machine heirs . . . never happened. A little boy hated robots, but the 
man he became worked with them hand in hand. 

And yet, always and always before, the new worker, the com- 
petitor for the job, was at once and inevitably outside the law. The 
waves swelled in — the Irish, the Negroes, the Jews, the Italians. They 
were squeezed into their ghettoes, where they encysted, seethed and 
struck out, until the burgeoning generations became indistinguishable. 

For the robots, that genetic relief was not in sight. And still the 
conflict never came. The feed-back circuits aimed the anti-aircraft 
guns and, reshaped and newly planned, found a place in a new sort 
of machine — together with a miraculous trail of cams and levers, an 
indestructible and potent power source and a hundred thousand parts 
and sub-assemblies. 

And the first robot clanked off the bench. 

Its mission was its own destruction; but from the scavenged wreck 
of its pilot body, a hundred better robots drew their inspiration. And 
the hundred went to work, and hundreds more, until there were 
millions upon untold millions. 

And still the riots never happened. 

For the robots came bearing a gift and the name of it was 

And by the time the gift had shown its own unguessed ills, the 
time for a Robot Riot was past. Plenty is a habit-forming drug. You 
do not cut the dosage down. You kick it if you can; you stop the dose 
entirely. But the convulsions that follow may wreck the body once 
and for all. 

The addict craves the grainy white powder; he doesn't hate it, or 
the runner who sells it to him. And if Morey as a little boy could hate 
the robot that had deprived him of his pup, Morey the man was 
perfectly aware that the robots were his servants and his friends. 

But the little Morey inside the man — he had never been con- 
vinced. <t 

Management Man; His Future 443 

Morey ordinarily looked forward to his work. The one day a 
week at which he did anything was a wonderful change from the 
dreary consume, consume, consume grind. He entered the bright-lit 
drafting room of the Bradmoor Amusements Company with a feeling 
of uplift. 

But as he was changing from street garb to his drafting smock, 
Rowland from Procurement came over with a knowing look. ''Wain- 
wright's been looking for you," Rowland whispered. ''Better get right 
in there." 

Morey nervously thanked him and got. Wainwright's ofhce was 
the size of a phone booth and as bare as Antarctic ice. Every time 
Morey saw it, he felt his insides churn with envy. Think of a desk 
with nothing on it but work surface — no calendar-clock, no twelve- 
color pen rack, no dictating machines! 

Re squeezed himself in and sat down while Wainwright finished 
a phone call. Re mentally reviewed the possible reasons why Wain- 
wright would want to talk to him in person instead of over the phone, 
or by dropping a word to him as he passed through the drafting room. 

Very few of them were good. 

Wainwright put down the phone and Morey straightened up. 
'Tou sent for me?" he asked. 

Wainwright in a chubby world was aristocratically lean. As Gen- 
eral Superintendent of the Design & Development Section of the Brad- 
moor Amusements Company, he ranked high in the upper section of 
the well-to-do. Re rasped, '1 certainly did. Fry, just what the hell do 
you think you're up to now?" 

'1 don't know what you m-mean, Mr. Wainwright," Morey 
stammered, crossing off the list of possible reasons for the interview 
all of the good ones. 

Wainwright snorted. "I guess you don't. Not because you weren't 
told, but because you don't want to know. Think back a whole week. 
What did I have you on the carpet for then?" 

Morey said sickly, ''My ration book. Look, Mr. Wainwright, I 
know I'm running a little bit behind, but — " 

"But nothing! Row do you think it looks to the Committee, Fry? 
They got a complaint from the Ration Board about you. Naturally 
they passed it on to me. And naturally I'm going to pass it right along 
to you. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Good God, 
man, look at these figures — textiles, fifty-one per cent; food, sixty- 

4H The Midas Plague 

seven per cent; amusements and entertainment, thiity per cent! You 
haven't come up to your ration in anything for months!" 

Morey stared at the card miserably. *'We — that is, my wife and 
I — just had a long talk about that last night, Mr. Wainwright. And, 
believe me, we're going to do better. We're going to buckle right down 
and get to work and — uh — do better," he finished weakly. 

Wainwright nodded, and for the first time there was a note of 
sympathy in his voice. 'Tour wife. Judge Elon's daughter, isn't she? 
Good family. I've met the Judge many times." Then, gruffly, ''Well, 
nevertheless. Fry, I'm warning you. I don't care how you straighten 
this out, but don't let the Committee mention this to me again." 

"No, sir." 

"All right. Finished with the schematics on the new K-50?" 

Morey brightened. "Just about, sir! I'm putting the first section 
on tape today. I'm very pleased with it, Mr. Wainwright, honestly I 
am. I've got more than eighteen thousand moving parts in it now, 
and that's without — " 

"Good. Good." Wainwright glanced down at his desk. "Get back 
to it. And straighten out this other thing. You can do it. Fry. Con- 
suming is everybody's duty. Just keep that in mind." 

Rowland followed Morey out of the drafting room, down to the 
spotless shops. "Bad time?" he inquired solicitously. Morey grunted. 
It was none of Rowland's business. 

Rowland looked over his shoulder as he was setting up the 
programing panel. Morey studied the matrices silently, then got busy 
reading the summary tapes, checking them back against the sche- 
matics, setting up the instructions on the programing board. Rowland 
kept quiet as Morey completed the setup and ran off a test tape. It 
checked perfectly; Morey stepped back to light a cigarette in celebra- 
tion before pushing the start button. 

Rowland said, "Go on, run it. I can't go until you put it in 
the works." 

Morey grinned and pushed the button. The board lighted up; 
within it, a tiny metronomic beep began to pulse. That was all. At the 
other end of the quarter-mile shed, Morey knew, the automatic sorters 
and conveyers were fingering through the copper reels and steel ingots, 
measuring hoppers of plastic powder and colors, setting up an intricate 
weaving path for the thousands of individual components that would 
make up Bradmoor's new K-50 Spin-a-Game. But from where they 

Management Man: His Future 44S 

stood, in the elaborately muraled programing room, nothing showed. 
Bradmoor was an ultra-modernized plant; in the manufacturing end, 
even robots had been dispensed with in favor of machines that guided 

Morey glanced at his watch and logged in the starting time while 
Rowland quickly counter-checked Morey's raw-material flow program. 

''Checks out/' Rowland said solemnly, slapping him on the back. 
''Calls for a celebration. Anyway, it's your first design, isn't it?" 

"Yes. First all by myself, at any rate." 

Rowland was already fishing in his private locker for the bottle 
he kept against emergency needs. Re poured with a flourish. "To 
Morey Fry," he said, "our most favorite designer, in whom we are 
much pleased." 

Morey drank. It went down easily enough. Morey had conscien- 
tiously used his liquor rations for years, but he had never gone beyond 
the minimum, so that although liquor was no new experience to him, 
the single drink immediately warmed him. It warmed his mouth, his 
throat, the hollows of his chest; and it settled down with a warm 
glow inside him. Rowland, exerting himself to be nice, complimented 
Morey fatuously on the design and poured another drink. Morey 
didn't utter any protest at all. 

Rowland drained his glass. "You may wonder," he said formally, 
"why I am so pleased with you, Morey Fry. I will tell you why this is." 

Morey grinned. "Please do." 

Rowland nodded. "I will. It's because I am pleased with the 
world, Morey. My wife left me last night." 

Morey was as shocked as only a recent bridegroom can be by the 
news of a crumbling marriage. "That's too ba— I mean is that a fact?" 

"Yes, she left my beds and board and five robots, and I'm happy 
to see her go." Re poured another drink for both of them. "Women. 
Can't live with them and can't live without them. First you sigh and 
pant and chase after 'em — you like poetry?" he demanded suddenly. 

Morey said cautiously, "Some poetry." 

Rowland quoted: " 'Row long, my love, shall I behold this wall 
between our gardens — yours the rose, and mine the swooning lily.' 
Like it? I wrote it for Jocelyn — that's my wife — when we were first 
going together." 

"It's beautiful," said Morey. 

"She wouldn't talk to me for two days." Rowland drained his 

446 The Midas Plague 

drink. ''Lots of spirit, that girl. Anyway, I hunted her hke a tiger. 
And then I caught her. Wowr 

Morey took a deep drink from his own glass. ''What do you mean, 
wow?'' he asked. 

"Wow.'' Howland pointed his finger at Morey. ''Wow^ that's 
what I mean. We got married and I took her home to the dive I was 
living in, and wow we had a kid, and wow I got in a little trouble with 
the Ration Board — nothing serious, of course, but there was a mixup 
— and wow fights. 

"Everything was a fight," he explained. "She'd start with a little 
nagging, and naturally I'd say something or other back, and bang we 
were off. Budget, budget, budget; I hope to die if I ever hear the 
word 'budget' again. Morey, you're a married man; you know what 
it's like. Tell me the truth, weren't you just about ready to blow your 
top the first time you caught your wife cheating on the budget?" 

"Cheating on the budget?" Morey was startled. "Cheating how?" 

"Oh, lots of ways. Making your portions bigger than hers. Sneak- 
ing extra shirts for you on her clothing ration. You know." 

"Damn it, I do not know!" cried Morey. "Cherry wouldn't do 
anything like that!" 

Howland looked at him opaquely for a long second. "Of course 
not," he said at last. "Let's have another drink." 

RuflBed, Morey held out his glass. Cherry wasn't the type of girl 
to cheat. Of course she wasn't. A fine, loving girl like her — a pretty 
girl, of a good family; she wouldn't know how to begin. 

Howland was saying, in a sort of chant, "No more budget. No 
more fights. No more 'Daddy never treated me like this.' No more 
nagging. No more extra rations for household allowance. No more — 
Morey, what do you say we go out and have a few drinks? I know a 
place where — " 

"Sorry, Howland," Morey said. "I've got to get back to the office, 
you know." 

Howland guffawed. He held out his wristwatch. As Morey, a little 
unsteadily, bent over it, it tinkled out the hour. It was a matter of 
minutes before the office closed for the day. 

"Oh," said Morey. "I didn't realize — Well, anyway, Howland, 
thanks, but I can't. My wife will be expecting me." 

"She certainly will," Howland sniggered. "Won't catch her eat- 
ing up your rations and hers tonight." 

Management Man; His Future 447 

Morey said tightly, ''Rowland!" 

*'Oh, sorry, sorry." Rowland waved an arm. ''Don't mean to say 
anything against your wife, of course. Guess maybe Jocelyn soured 
me on women. But honest, Morey, you'd like this place. Name of 
Uncle Piggotty's, down in the Old Town. Crazy bunch hangs out 
there. You'd like them. Couple nights last week they had — I mean, 
you understand, Morey, I don't go there as often as all that, but I 
just happened to drop in and — " 

Morey interrupted firmly. "Thank you, Rowland. Must go home. 
Wife expects it. Decent of you to offer. Good night. Be seeing you." 

Re walked out, turned at the door to bow politely, and in turning 
back cracked the side of his face against the door jamb. A sort of 
pleasant numbness had taken possession of his entire skin surface, 
though, and it wasn't until he perceived Renry chattering at him 
sympathetically that he noticed a trickle of blood running down the 
side of his face. 

"Mere flesh wound," he said with dignity. "Nothing to cause you 
least conshter — consternation, Renry. Now kindly shut your ugly face. 
Want to think." 

And he slept in the car all the way home. 

It was worse than a hangover. The name is "holdover." You've 
had some drinks; you've started to sober up by catching a little sleep. 
Then you are required to be awake and to function. The consequent 
state has the worst features of hangover and intoxication; your head 
thumps and your mouth tastes like the floor of a bear-pit, but you are 
nowhere near sober. 

There is one cure. Morey said thickly, "Let's have a cocktail, 

Cherry was delighted to share a cocktail with him before dinner. 
Cherry, Morey thought lovingly, was a wonderful, wonderful, won- 
derful — 

Re found his head nodding in time to his thoughts and the 
motion made him wince. 

Cherry flew to his side and touched his temple. "Is it bothering 
you, darling?" she asked solicitously. "Where you ran into the door, 
I mean?" 

Morey looked at her sharply, but her expression was open and 
adoring. Re said bravely, "Just a little. Nothing to it, really." 

448 The Midas PJague 

The butler brought the cocktails and retired. Cherry lifted her 
glass. Morey raised his, caught a whiff of the liquor and nearly dropped 
it. He bit down hard on his churning insides and forced himself to 

He was surprised but grateful: It stayed down. In a moment, the 
curious phenomenon of warmth began to repeat itself. He swallowed 
the rest of the drink and held out his glass for a refill. He even tried 
a smile. Oddly enough, his face didn't fall off. 

One more drink did it. Morey felt happy and relaxed, but by no 
means drunk. They went in to dinner in fine spirits. They chatted 
cheerfully with each other and Henry, and Morey found time to feel 
sentimentally sorry for poor Howland, who couldn't make a go of his 
marriage, when marriage was obviously such an easy relationship, so 
beneficial to both sides, so warm and relaxing . . . 

Startled, he said, "What?" 

Cherry repeated, ''It's the cleverest scheme I ever heard of. Such 
a funny little man, dear. All kind of nervous, if you know what I 
mean. He kept looking at the door as if he was expecting someone, 
but of course that was silly. None of his friends would have come to 
our house to see him." « , 

Morey said tensely, ''Cherry, please/ What was that you said 
about ration stamps?" 

"But I told you, darling! It was just after you left this morning. 
This funny little man came to the door; the butler said he wouldn't 
give any name. Anyway, I talked to him. I thought he might be a 
neighbor and I certainly would never be rude to any neighbor who 
might come to call, even if the neighborhood was — " 

"The ration stamps!" Morey begged. "Did I hear you say he was 
peddling phony ration stamps?" 

Cherry said uncertainly, "Well, I suppose that in a way they're 
phony. The way he explained it, they weren't the regular official kind. 
But it was four for one, dear — four of his stamps for one of ours. So 
I just took out our household book and steamed off a couple of weeks' 
stamps and — " 

"How many?" Morey bellowed. 

Cherry blinked. "About — about two weeks' quota," she said 
faintly. "Was that wrong, dear?" 

Morey closed his eyes dizzily. "A couple of weeks' stamps," he 
repeated. "Four for one — you didn't even get the regular rate." 

Management Man: His Future 449 

Cherry wailed, ''How was I supposed to know? I never had any- 
thing hke this when I was home! We didn't have food riots and 
slums and all these horrible robots and filthy little revolting men 
coming to the door!" 

Morey stared at her woodenly. She was crying again, but it made 
no impression on the case-hardened armor that was suddenly thrown 
around his heart. 

Henry made a tentative sound that, in a human, would have been 
a preparatory cough, but Morey froze him with a white-eyed look. 

Morey said in a dreary monotone that barely penetrated the sound 
of Cherry's tears, ''Let me tell you just what it was you did. Assuming, 
at best, that these stamps you got are at least average good counterfeits, 
and not so bad that the best thing to do with them is throw them 
away before we get caught with them in our possession, you have 
approximately a two-month supply of funny stamps. In case you 
didn't know it, those ration books are not merely ornamental. They 
have to be turned in every month to prove that we have completed 
our consuming quota for the month. 

"When they are turned in, they are spot-checked. Every book is 
at least glanced at. A big chunk of them are gone over very carefully 
by the inspectors, and a certain percentage are tested by ultra-violet, 
infra-red. X-ray, radioisotopes, bleaches, fumes, paper chromatography 
and every other damned test known to Man." His voice was rising to 
an uneven crescendo. ''U we are lucky enough to get away with using 
any of these stamps at all, we daren't — we simply daie not — use more 
than one or two counterfeits to every dozen or more real stamps. 

"That means, Cherry, that what you bought is not a two-month 
supply, but maybe a two-year supply — and since, as you no doubt have 
never noticed, the things have expiration dates on them, there is 
probably no chance in the world that we can ever hope to use more 
than half of them." He was bellowing by the time he pushed back 
his chair and towered over her. "Moreover," he went on, "right now, 
right as of this minute, we have to make up the stamps you gave away, 
which means that at the very best we are going to be on double 
rations for two weeks or so. 

"And that says nothing about the one feature of this whole 
grisly mess that you seem to have thought of least, namely that 
counterfeit stamps are against the Jaw/ I'm poor. Cherry; I live in a 
slum, and I know it; I've got a long way to go before I'm as rich or 

450 The Midas PJague 

respected or powerful as your father, about whom I am beginning 
to get considerably tired of hearing. But poor as I may be, I can tell 
you this for sure: Up until now, at any rate, I have been honest.'' 

Cherry's tears had stopped entirely and she was bowed white- 
faced and dry-eyed by the time Morey had finished. He had spent 
himself; there was no violence left in him. 

He stared dismally at Cherry for a moment, then turned word- 
lessly and stamped out of the house. 

Marriage/ he thought as he left. 

He walked for hours, blind to where he was going. 

What brought him back to awareness was a sensation he had not 
felt in a dozen years. It was not, Morey abruptly realized, the dying 
traces of his hangover that made his stomach feel so queer. He was 
hungry — actually hungry. 

He looked about him. He was in the Old Town, miles from 
home, jostled by crowds of lower-class people. The block he was on 
was as atrocious a slum as Morey had ever seen — Chinese pagodas 
stood next to rococo imitations of the chapels around Versailles; gin- 
gerbread marred every facade; no building was without its brilliant 
signs and flarelights. 

He saw a blindingly overdecorated eating establishment called 
Billie's Budget Busy Bee and crossed the street toward it, dodging 
through the unending streams of traffic. It was a miserable excuse for 
a restaurant, but Morey was in no mood to care. He found a seat 
under a potted palm, as far from the tinkling fountains and robot 
string ensemble as he could manage, and ordered recklessly, paying no 
attention to the ration prices. As the waiter was gliding noiselessly 
away, Morey had a sickening realization: He'd come out without his 
ration book. He groaned out loud; it was too late to leave without 
causing a disturbance. But then, he thought rebelliously, what differ- 
ence did one more unrationed meal make, anyhow? 

Food made him feel a little better. He finished the last of his 
pioEteiole au chocolate^ not even leaving on the plate the uneaten 
one-third that tradition permitted, and paid his check. The robot 
cashier reached automatically for his ration book. Morey had a mo- 
ment of grandeur as he said simply, ''No ration stamps." 

Robot cashiers are not equipped to display surprise, but this one 
tried. The man behind Morey in line audibly caught his breath, and 

Management Man: His Future 4S1 

less audibly mumbled something about slummeTS. Morey took it as a 
compliment and strode outside feeling almost in good humor. 

Good enough to go home to Cherry? Morey thought seriously 
of it for a second;, but he wasn't going to pretend he was wrong and 
certainly Cherry wasn't going to be willing to admit that she was 
at fault. 

Besides, Morey told himself grimly, she was undoubtedly asleep. 
That was an annoying thing about Cherry at best: she never had any 
trouble getting to sleep. Didn't even use her quota of sleeping tablets, 
though Morey had spoken to her about it more than once. Of course, 
he reminded himself, he had been so polite and tactful about it, as 
befits a newlywed, that very likely she hadn't even understood that 
it was a complaint. Well, that would stop! 

Man's man Morey Fry, wearing no collar ruff but his own, strode 
determinedly down the streets of the Old Town. 

"Hey, Joe, want a good time?" 

Morey took one unbelieving look. "You again!" he roared. 

The little man stared at him in genuine surprise. Then a faint 
glimmer of recognition crossed his face. "Oh, yeah," he said. "This 
morning, huh?" He clucked commiseratingly. "Too bad you wouldn't 
deal with me. Your wife was a lot smarter. Of course, you got me a 
little sore. Jack, so naturally I had to raise the price a little bit." 

"You skunk, you cheated my poor wife blind! You and I are 
going to the local station house and talk this over." 

The little man pursed his lips. "We are, huh?" 

Morey nodded vigorously. "Damn right! And let me tell you — " 
He stopped in the middle of a threat as a large hand cupped around 
his shoulder. 

The equally large man who owned the hand said, in a mild and 
cultured voice, "Is this gentleman disturbing you, Sam?" 

"Not so far," the little man conceded. "He might want to, 
though, so don't go away." 

Morey wrenched his shoulder away. "Don't think you can strong- 
arm me. I'm taking you to the police." 

Sam shook his head unbelievingly. "You mean you're going to 
call the law in on this?" 

"I certainly am!" 

4S2 The Midas Plague 

Sam sighed regretfully. ''What do you think of that, Walter? 
Treating his wife like that. Such a nice lady, too." 

''What are you talking about?" Morey demanded, stung on a 
peculiarly sensitive spot. 

"Fm talking about your wife/' Sam explained. "Of course, Tm 
not married myself. But it seems to me that if I was, I wouldn't call 
the police when my wife was engaged in some kind of criminal 
activity or other. No, sir, Vd try to settle it myself. Tell you what,'' he 
advised, "why don't you talk this over with her? Make her see the error 

"Wait a minute," Morey interrupted. "You mean you'd involve 
my wife in this thing?" 

The man spread his hands helplessly. "It's not me that would 
involve her, Buster," he said. "She already involved her own self. It 
takes two to make a crime, you know. I sell, maybe; I won't deny it. 
But after all, I can't sell unless somebody buys, can I?" 

Morey stared at him glumly. He glanced in quick speculation at 
the large-sized Walter; but Walter was just as big as he'd remembered, 
so that took care of that. Violence was out; the police were out; that 
left no really attractive way of capitalizing on the good luck of running 
into the man again. 

Sam said, "Well, I'm glad to see that's off your mind. Now, 
returning to my original question, Mac, how would you like a good 
time? You look like a smart fellow to me; you look like you'd be kind 
of interested in a place I happen to know of down the block." 

Morey said bitterly, "So you're a dive-steerer, too. A real talented 


"I admit it," Sam agreed. "Stamp business is slow at night, in my 
experience. People have their minds more on a good time. And, believe 
me, a good time is what I can show 'em. Take this place I'm talking 
about, Uncle Piggotty's is the name of it, it's what I would call an 
unusual kind of place. Wouldn't you say so, Walter?" 

"Oh, I agree with you entirely," Walter rumbled. 

But Morey was hardly listening. He said, "Uncle Piggotty's, 
you say?" 

"That's right," said Sam. 

Morey frowned for a moment, digesting an idea. Uncle Piggotty's 
sounded like the place Howland had been talking about back at the 
plant; it might be interesting, at that. 

Management Man: His Future 453 

While he was making up his mind, Sam shpped an arm through 
his on one side and Walter amiably wrapped a big hand around the 
other. Morey found himself walking. 

'Tou'll like it/' Sam promised comfortably. ''No hard feelings 
about this morning, sport? Of course not. Once you get a look at 
Piggotty's, you'll get over your mad, anyhow. It's something special. 
I swear, on what they pay me for bringing in customers, I wouldn't do 
it unless I helieved in it." 

''Dance, Jack?" the hostess yelled over the noise at the bar. She 
stepped back, lifted her flounced skirts to ankle height and executed 
a tricky nine-step. 

"My name is Morey," Morey yelled back. "And I don't want to 
dance, thanks." 

The hostess shrugged, frowned meaningfully at Sam and danced 

Sam flagged the bartender. "First round's on us," he explained 
to Morey. "Then we won't bother you any more. Unless you want 
us to, of course. Like the place?" Morey hesitated, but Sam didn't 
wait. "Fine place," he yelled, and picked up the drink the bartender 
left him. "See you around." 

He and the big man were gone. Morey stared after them uncer- 
tainly, then gave it up. He was here, anyhow; might as well at least 
have a drink. He ordered and looked around. 

Uncle Piggotty's was a third-rate dive disguised to look, in parts 
of it at least, like one of the exclusive upper-class country clubs. The 
bar, for instance, was treated to resemble the clean lines of nailed 
wood; but underneath the surface treatment, Morey could detect the 
intricate laminations of plyplastic. What at first glance appeared to 
be burlap hangings were in actuality elaborately textured synthetics. 
And all through the bar the motif was carried out. 

A floor show of sorts was going on, but nobody seemed to be 
paying much attention to it. Morey, straining briefly to hear the 
master of ceremonies, gathered that the wit was on a more than mildly 
vulgar level. There was a dispirited string of chorus beauties in long 
rufl^led pantaloons and diaphanous tops; one of them, Morey was 
almost sure, was the hostess who had talked to him just a few mo- 
ments before. 

Next to him a man was declaiming to a middle-aged woman: 

4S4 The Midas PJague 

Smote I the monstrous rock, yahoo! 
Smote I the turgid tube, Bully Boy I 
Smote I the cankered hill — 

"Why, Morey!" he interrupted himself. ''What are you doing here?'' 

He turned farther around and Morey recognized him. ''Hello, 
Howland," he said. "I — uh — I happened to be free tonight, so I 

Howland sniggered. "Well, guess your wife is more liberal than 
mine was. Order a drink, boy.'' 

"Thanks, I've got one," said Morey. 

The woman, with a tigerish look at Morey, said, "Don't stop, 
Everett. That was one of your most beautiful things." 

"Oh, Morey's heard my poetry," Howland said. "Morey, I'd like 
you to meet a very lovely and talented young lady, Tanaquil Bigelow. 
Morey works in the ofEce with me. Tan." 

"Obviously," said Tanaquil Bigelow in a frozen voice, and Morey 
hastily withdrew the hand he had begun to put out. 

The conversation stuck there, impaled, the woman cold, How- 
land relaxed and abstracted, Morey wondering if, after all, this had 
been such a good idea. He caught the eye-cell of the robot bartender 
and ordered a round of drinks for the three of them, politely putting 
them on Howland's ration book. By the time the drinks had come 
and Morey had just got around to deciding that it wasn't a very good 
idea, the woman had all of a sudden become thawed. 

She said abruptly, "You look like the kind of man who thinks, 
Morey, and I like to talk to that kind of man. Frankly, Morey, I just 
don't have any patience at all with the stupid, stodgy men who just 
work in their offices all day and eat all their dinners every night, and 
gad about and consume like mad and where does it all get them, any- 
how? That's right, I can see you understand. Just one crazy rush to 
consume, consume from the day you're born pJop to the day you're 
buried pop/ And who's to blame if not the robots?" 

Faintly, a tinge of worry began to appear on the surface of How- 
land's relaxed calm. "Tan," he chided, "Morey may not be very in- 
terested in politics." 

Politics, Morey thought; well, at least that was a clue. He'd had 
the dizzying feeling, while the woman was talking, that he himself 
was the ball in the games machine he had designed for the shop 

Management Man: His Future 4SS 

earlier that day. Following the woman's conversation might, at that, 
give his next design some valuable pointers in swoops, curves and ob- 

He said, with more than half truth, ''No, please go on. Miss Bige- 
low. I'm very much interested." 

She smiled; then abruptly her face changed to a frightening 
scowl. Morey flinched, but evidently the scowl wasn't meant for him. 
''Robots!" she hissed. "Supposed to work for us, aren't they? Hah! 
We're their slaves, slaves for every moment of every miserable day of 
our lives. Slaves! Wouldn't you like to join us and be free, Morey?" 

Morey took cover in his drink. He made an expressive gesture 
with his free hand — expressive of exactly what, he didn't truly know, 
for he was lost. But it seemed to satisfy the woman. 

She said accusingly, "Did you know that more than three-quarters 
of the people in this country have had a nervous breakdown in the 
past five years and four months? That more than half of them are 
under the constant care of psychiatrists for psychosis — not just plain 
ordinary neurosis like my husband's got and Howland here has got 
and you've got, but psychosis. Like I've got. Did you know that? Did 
you know that forty per cent of the population are essentially manic 
depressive, thirty-one per cent are schizoid, thirty-eight per cent have 
an assortment of other unfixed psychogenic disturbances and twenty- 

"Hold it a minute, Tan," Howland interrupted critically. "You've 
got too many per cents there. Start over again." 

"Oh, the hell with it," the woman said moodily. "I wish my 
husband were here. He expresses it so much better than I do." She 
swallowed her drink. "Since you've wriggled off the hook," she said 
nastily to Morey, "how about setting up another round — on my 
ration book this time?" 

Morey did; it was the simplest thing to do in his confusion. 
When that was gone, they had another on Howland's book. 

As near as he could figure out, the woman, her husband and 
quite possibly Howland as well belonged to some kind of anti-robot 
group. Morey had heard of such things; they had a quasi-legal status, 
neither approved nor prohibited, but he had never come into contact 
with them before. Remembering the hatred he had so painfully re- 
lived at the psychodrama session, he thought anxiously that perhaps 
he belonged with them. But, question them though he might, he 

4S6 The Midas PJague 

couldn't seem to get the principles of the organization firmly in mind. 

The woman finally gave up trying to explain it^ and went off to 
find her husband while Morey and Rowland had another drink and 
listened to two drunks squabble over who bought the next round. 
They were at the Alphonse-Gaston stage of inebriation; they would 
regret it in the morning; for each was bending over backward to per- 
mit the other to pay the ration points. Morey wondered uneasily 
about his own points; Rowland was certainly getting credit for a lot 
of Morey's drinking tonight. Served him right for forgetting his book, 
of course. 

When the woman came back, it was with the large man Morey 
had encountered in the company of Sam, the counterfeiter, steerer and 
general man about Old Town. 

'*A remarkably small world, isn't it?" boomed Walter Bigelow, 
only slightly crushing Morey's hand in his. ''Well, sir, my wife has 
told me how interested you are in the basic philosophical drives be- 
hind our movement, and I should like to discuss them further with 
you. To begin with, sir, have you considered the principle of Two- 

Morey said, ''Why — " 

"Very good,'' said Bigelow courteously. Re cleared his throat and 

Han-headed Cathay saw it first. 
Bright as brightest soJar burst; 
Whipped it into hoy and girl. 
The hUnding spiial-sUced swid: 
' , Yang 

And Yin. 

He shrugged deprecatingly. "Just the first stanza," he said. "I 
don't know if you got much out of it." 
"Well, no," Morey admitted. 
"Second stanza," Bigelow said firmly: , 

HegaJ saw it, saw it clear; 

Jackal Marx drew near, drew near: 

O'ei his shoulder saw it plain, 

Turned it upside down again: 


And Yin. 

Management Man; His Future 4S7 

There was an expectant pause. Morey said, "I — uh — '' 
''Wraps it all up, doesn't it?" Bigelow's wife demanded. ''Oh, if 
only others could see it as clearly as you do! The robot peril and the 
robot savior. Starvation and surfeit. Always twoness, always!'' 

Bigelow patted Morey's shoulder. "The next stanza makes it even 
clearer," he said. "It's really very clever — I shouldn't say it, of course, 
but it's Rowland's as much as it's mine. He helped me with the 
verses." Morey darted a glance at Rowland, but Rowland was care- 
fully looking away. "Third stanza," said Bigelow. "This is a hard one, 
because it's long, so pay attention." 

Justice, tip your sightless scales; 
One pan hseSy one pan ialls. 

"Rowland," he interrupted himself, "are you sure about that rhyme? 
I always trip over it. Well, anyway: 

Add to A and B grows Jess; 

A's B's partner, nonetheless. 

Nexty the Twoness that there he 

In even electricity. 

Chart the current as it's found: 

Sine the hot lead, line the ground. 

The wild sine dances, soars and ialls, 

But only to figures the zero calls. 

Sine wave, scales, all things that he 

Share a reciprocity. 

Male and iemale, light and dark: 

Name the numbers oi Noah's Ark/ 


And Yin! 

"Dearest!" shrieked Bigelow's wife. "You've never done it bet- 
ter!" There was a spatter of applause, and Morey realized for the first 
time that half the bar had stopped its noisy revel to listen to them. 
Bigelow was evidently quite a well-known figure here. 

Morey said weakly, "I've never heard anything like it." 

Re turned hesitantly to Rowland, who promptly said, "Drink! 
What we all need right now is a drink." 

They had a drink on Bigelow's book. 

Morey got Rowland aside and asked him, "Look, level with me. 
Are these people nuts?" 

4S8 The Midas Plague 

Howland showed pique. "No. Certainly not." 

''Does that poem mean anything? Does this whole business of 
twoness mean anything?'' 

Howland shrugged, ''If it means something to them, it means 
something. They're philosophers, Morey. They see deep into things. 
You don't know what a privilege it is for me to be allowed to associate 
with them." 

They had another drink. On Rowland's book, of cDurse. 

Morey eased Walter Bigelow over to a quiet spot. He said, "Leav- 
ing twoness out of it for the moment, what's this about the robots?" 

Bigelow looked at him round-eyed. "Didn't you understand the 

"Of course I did. But diagram it for me in simple terms so I can 
tell my wife." 

Bigelow beamed. "It's about the dichotomy of robots," he ex- 
plained. "Like the little salt mill that the boy wished for: it ground 
out salt and ground out salt and ground out salt. He had to have salt, 
but not that much salt. Whitehead explains it clearly — " 

They had another drink on Bigelow's book. 

Morey wavered over Tanaquil Bigelow. He said fuzzily, "Listen. 
Mrs. Walter Tanaquil Strongarm Bigelow. Listen." 

She grinned smugly at him. "Brown hair," she said dreamily. 

Morey shook his head vigorously. "Never mind hair," he ordered. 
"Never mind poem. Listen. In pre-cise and el-e-men-ta-ry terms, ex- 
plain to me what is wrong with the world today." 

"Not enough brown hair," she said promptly. 

"Never mind hair!" 

"All right," she said agreeably. "Too many robots. Too many 
robots make too much of everything." 

"Ha! Got it!" Morey exclaimed triumphantly. "Get rid of 
robots!" - 

"Oh, no. No! No! No. We wouldn't eat. Everything is mecha- 
nized. Can't get rid of them, can't slow down production — slowing 
down is dying, stopping is quicker dying. Principle of twoness is the 
concept that clarifies all these — " 

"No!" Morey said violently. "What should we do?" 

"Do? I'll tell you what we should do, if that's what you want. I 
can tell you." 

"Then tell me." 

Management Man: His Future 459 

''What we should do is — " Tanaquil hiccupped with a look of 
refined consternation — ''have another drink." 

They had another drink. He gallantly let her pay, of course. She 
ungallantly argued with the bartender about the ration points due her. 

Though not a two-fisted drinker, Morey tried. He really worked 
at it. 

He paid the price, too. For some little time before his limbs 
stopped moving, his mind stopped functioning. Blackout. Almost a 
blackout, at any rate, for all he retained of the late evening was a 
kaleidoscope of people and places and things. Howland was there, 
drunk as a skunk, disgracefully drunk, Morey remembered thinking 
as he stared up at Howland from the floor. The Bigelows were there. 
His wife. Cherry, solicitous and amused, was there. And oddly enough, 
Henry was there. 

It was very, very hard to reconstruct. Morey devoted a whole 
morning's hangover to the effort. It was important to reconstruct it, 
for some reason. But Morey couldn't even remember what the reason 
was; and finally he dismissed it, guessing that he had either solved 
the secret of twoness or whether Tanaquil Bigelow's remarkable figure 
was natural. 

He did, however, know that the next morning he had waked in 
his own bed, with no recollection of getting there. No recollection of 
anything much, at least not of anything that fit into the proper 
chronological order or seemed to mesh with anything else, after the 
dozenth drink when he and Howland, arms around each other's 
shoulders, composed a new verse on twoness and, plagiarizing an old 
marching tune, howled it across the boisterous barroom: 

A twoness on the scene much later 
Rests in your leingeiatoi. 
Heat your house and insulate it. 
Next your iood: Reihgeiate it, 
Fiost will damp your Fieon coils. 
So flux in nichiome till it boils. 
See the picture? Heat in cold 
In heat in cold, the story's told! 
Giant-wiit the sacred scrawl: 
Oh, the twoness oi it all! 
And Yinl 

460 The Midas Plague 

It had, at any rate, seemed to mean something at the time. 

If alcohol opened Morey's eyes to the fact that there was a two- 
ness, perhaps alcohol was what he needed. For there was. 

Call it a dichotomy, if the word seems more couth. A kind of 
two-pronged struggle, the struggle of two unwearying runners in an 
immortal race. There is the refrigerator inside the house. The cold 
air, the bubble of heated air that is the house, the bubble of cooled 
air that is the refrigerator, the momentary bubble of heated air that 
defrosts it. Call the heat Yang, if you will. Call the cold Yin. Yang 
overtakes Yin. Then Yin passes Yang. Then Yang passes Yin. Then — 

Give them other names. Call Yin a mouth; call Yang a hand. 

If the hand rests, the mouth will starve. If the mouth stops, the 
hand will die. The hand, Yang, moves faster. 

Yin may not lag behind. 

Then call Yang a robot. 

And remember that a pipeline has two ends. 

Like any once-in-a-lifetime lush, Morey braced himself for the 
consequences — and found startledly that there were none. 

Cherry was a surprise to him. ''You were so funny," she giggled. 
"And, honestly, so romantic.'' 

He shakily swallowed his breakfast coffee. 

The office staff roared and slapped him on the back. ''Rowland 
tells us you're living high, boy!" they bellowed more or less in the same 
words. "Hey, listen to what Morey did — went on the town for the 
night of a lifetime and didn't even bring his ration hook along to 
cash in/" 

They thought it was a wonderful joke. 

But, then, everything was going well. Cherry, it seemed, had 
reformed out of recognition. True, she still hated to go out in the 
evening and Morey never saw her forcing herself to gorge on un- 
wanted food or play undesired games. But, moping into the pantry 
one afternoon, he found to his incredulous delight that they were well 
ahead of their ration quotas. In some items, in fact, they were out — 
a month's supply and more was gone ahead of schedule! 

Nor was it the counterfeit stamps, for he had found them tucked 
behind a bain-marie and quietly burned them. He cast about for ways 
of complimenting her, but caution prevailed. She was sensitive on the 
subject; leave it be. 

Management Man: His Future 461 

And virtue had its reward. 

Wainwright called him in, all smiles. ''Morey, great news! WeVe 
all appreciated your work here and we've been able to show it in some 
more tangible way than compliments. I didn't want to say anything 
till it was definite, but — your status has been reviewed by Classifica- 
tion and the Ration Board. You're out of Class Four Minor, Morey!" 

Morey said tremulously, hardly daring to hope, 'I'm a full Class 

''Class Five, Morey. Chss Five! When we do something, we do 
it right. We asked for a special waiver and got it — you've skipped a 
whole class." He added honestly, "Not that it was just our backing 
that did it, of course. Your own recent splendid record of consump- 
tion helped a lot. I told you you could do it!" 

Morey had to sit down. He missed the rest of what Wainwright 
had to say, but it couldn't have mattered. He escaped from the office, 
sidestepped the knot of fellow-employees waiting to congratulate him, 
and got to a phone. 

Cherry was as ecstatic and inarticulate as he. "Oh, darling!" was 
all she could say. 

"And I couldn't have done it without you," he babbled. "Wain- 
wright as much as said so himself. Said if it wasn't for the way we — 
well, you have been keeping up with the rations, it never would have 
got by the Board. I've been meaning to say something to you about 
that, dear, but I just haven't known how. But I do appreciate it. I — 
Hello?" There was a curious silence at the other end of the phone. 
"Hello?" he repeated worriedly. 

Cherry's voice was intense and low. "Morey Fry, I think you're 
mean. I wish you hadn't spoiled the good news." And she hung up. 

Morey stared slack-jawed at the phone. 

Howland appeared behind him, chuckling. "Women," he said. 
"Never try to figure them. Anyway, congratulations, Morey." 

"Thanks," Morey mumbled. 

Howland coughed and said, "Uh — by the way, Morey, now that 
you're one of the big shots, so to speak, you won't — uh — feel obliged 
to — well, say anything to Wainwright, for instance, about anything 
I may have said while we — " 

"Excuse me," Morey said, unhearing, and pushed past him. He 
thought wildly of calling Cherry back, of racing home to see just what 

462 The Midas Plague 

he'd said that was wrong. Not that there was much doubt, of course. 
He'd touched her on her sore point. 

Anyhow, his wristwatch was chiming a reminder of the fact that 
his psychiatric appointment for the week was coming up. 

Morey sighed. The day gives and the day takes away. Blessed 
is the day that gives only good things. 

If any. 

The session went badly. Many of the sessions had been going 
badly, Morey decided; there had been more and more whispering in 
knots of doctors from which he was excluded, poking and probing in 
the dark instead of the precise psychic surgery he was used to. Some- 
thing was wrong, he thought. 

Something was. Semmelweiss confirmed it when he adjourned 
the group session. After the other doctor had left, he sat Morey down 
for a private talk. On his own time, too — he didn't ask for his usual 
ration fee. That told Morey how important the problem was. 

''Morey," said Semmelweiss, 'you're holding back." 

"I don't mean to. Doctor," Morey said earnestly. 

"Who knows what you 'mean' to do? Part of you 'means' to. 
We've dug pretty deep and we've found some important things. Now 
there's something I can't put my finger on. Exploring the mind, 
Morey, is like sending scouts through cannibal territory. You can't 
see the cannibals — until it's too late. But if you send a scout through 
the jungle and he doesn't show up on the other side, it's a fair as- 
sumption that something obstructed his way. In that case, we would 
label the obstruction 'cannibals.' In the case of the human mind, we 
label the obstruction a 'trauma.' What the trauma is, or what its 
effects on behavior will be, we have to find out, once we know that it's 

Morey nodded. All of this was familiar; he couldn't see what 
Semmelweiss was driving at. 

Semmelweiss sighed. "The trouble with healing traumas and 
penetrating psychic blocks and releasing inhibitions — the trouble with 
everything we psychiatrists do, in fact, is that we can't afford to do it 
too well. An inhibited man is under a strain. We try to relieve the 
strain. But if we succeed completely, leaving him with no inhibitions 
at all, we have an outlaw, Morey. Inhibitions are often socially neces- 
sary. Suppose, for instance, that an average man were not inhibited 

Management Man: His Future 463 

against blatant waste. It could happen, you know. Suppose that in- 
stead of consuming his ration quota in an orderly and responsible way, 
he did such things as set fire to his house and everything in it or 
dumped his food allotment in the river. 

''When only a few individuals are doing it, we treat the indi- 
viduals. But if it were done on a mass scale, Morey, it would be the 
end of society as we know it. Think of the whole collection of anti- 
social actions that you see in every paper. Man beats wife; wife turns 
into a harpy; junior smashes up windows; husband starts a black- 
market stamp racket. And every one of them traces to a basic weak- 
ness in the mind's defenses against the most important single anti- 
social phenomenon — failure to consume." 

Morey flared, 'That's not fair, Doctor! That was weeks ago! 
We've certainly been on the ball lately. I was just commended by the 
Board, in fact — " 

The doctor said mildly, "Why so violent, Morey? I only made a 
general remark." 

"It's just natural to resent being accused." 

The doctor shrugged. "First, foremost and above all, we do not 
accuse patients of things. We try to help you find things out." He lit 
his end-of-session cigarette. "Think about it, please. I'll see you next 

Cherry was composed and unapproachable. She kissed him re- 
motely when he came in. She said, "I called Mother and told her the 
good news. She and Dad promised to come over here to celebrate." 

"Yeah," said Morey. "Darling, what did I say wrong on the 

"They'll be here about six." 

"Sure. But what did I say? Was it about the rations? If you're 
sensitive, I swear I'll never mention them again." 

"I am sensitive, Morey." 

He said despairingly, "I'm sorry. I just — " 

He had a better idea. He kissed her. 

Cherry was passive at first, but not for long. When he had 
finished kissing her, she pushed him away and actually giggled. "Let 
me get dressed for dinner." 

"Certainly. Anyhow, I was just — " 

She laid a finger on his lips. 

464 The Midas Plague 

He let her escape and, feeling much less tense, drifted into the 
library. The afternoon papers were waiting for him. Virtuously, he sat 
down and began going through them in order. Midway through the 
World-Telegram-Sun-Post-and-News, he rang for Henry. 

Morey had read clear through to the drama section of the Times- 
Herald-Tribune-Mirror before the robot appeared. ''Good evening/' 
it said politely. 

''What took you so long?" Morey demanded. "Where are all the 

Robots do not stammer, but there was a distinct pause before 
Henry said, "Belowstairs, sir. Did you want them for something?" 

"Well, no. I just haven't see them around. Get me a drink." 

It hesitated. "Scotch, sir?" 

"Before dinner? Get me a Manhattan." 

"We're all out of Vermouth, sir." 

"All out? Would you mind telling me how?" 

"It's all used up, sir." 

"Now that's just ridiculous," Morey snapped. "We have never 
run out of liquor in our whole lives and you know it. Good heavens, 
we just got our allotment in the other day and I certainly — " 

He checked himself. There was a sudden flicker of horror in his 
eyes as he stared at Henry. 

"You certainly what, sir?" the robot prompted. 

Morey swallowed. "Henry, did I — did I do something I shouldn't 

"I'm sure I wouldn't know, sir. It isn't up to me to say what you 
should and shouldn't do." -^ 

"Of course not," Morey agreed grayly. 

He sat rigid, staring hopelessly into space, remembering. What 
he remembered was no pleasure to him at all. 

"Henry," he said. "Come along, we're going belowstairs. Right 

It had been Tanaquil Bigelow's remark about the robots. Too 
many robots — make too much oi eveiything. 

That had implanted the idea; it germinated in Morey's home. 
More than a little drunk, less than ordinarily inhibited, he had found 
the problem clear and the answer obvious. 

Management Man: His Future 46S 

He stared around him in dismal worry. His own robots, follow- 
ing his own orders, given weeks before . . . 

Henry said, ''It's just what you told us to do, sir." 

Morey groaned. He was watching a scene of unparalleled activity, 
and it sent shivers up and down his spine. 

There was the butler-robot, hard at work, his copper face ex- 
pressionless. Dressed in Morey's own sports knickers and golfing shoes, 
the robot solemnly hit a ball against the wall, picked it up and teed 
it, hit it again, over and again, with Morey's own clubs. Until the ball 
wore ragged and was replaced; and the shafts of the clubs leaned out 
of true; and the close-stitched seams in the clothing began to stretch 
and abrade. 

"My God!'' said Morey hollowly. 

There were the maid-robots, exquisitely dressed in Cherry's best, 
walking up and down in the delicate, slim shoes, sitting and rising and 
bending and turning. The cook-robots and the serving-robots were 
preparing dionysian meals. 

Morey swallowed. 'Tou — you've been doing this right along," he 
said to Henry. 'That's why the quotas have been filled." 

"Oh, yes, sir. Just as you told us." 

Morey had to sit down. One of the serving-robots politely scur- 
ried over with a chair, brought from upstairs for their new chores. 


Morey tasted the word between his lips. 


You never wasted things. You used them. If necessary, you drove 
yourself to the edge of breakdown to use them; you made every breath 
a burden and every hour a torment to use them, until through diligent 
consuming and /or occupational merit, you were promoted to the 
next higher class, and were allowed to consume less frantically. But 
you didn't wantonly destroy or throw out. You consumed. 

Morey thought fearfully: When the Board finds out about 
this . . . 

Still, he reminded himself, the Board hadn't found out. It might 
take some time before they did, for humans, after all, never entered 
robot quarters. There was no law against it, not even a sacrosanct cus- 
tom. But there was no reason to. When breaks occurred, which was 
infrequently, maintenance robots or repair squads came in and put 
them back in order. Usually the humans involved didn't even know 

466 The Midas Plague 

it had happened, because the robots used their own TBR radio cir- 
cuits and the process was next thing to automatic. 

Morey said reprovingly, ''Henry, you should have told — well, I 
mean reminded me about this." 

''But, sir!'' Henry protested. " 'Don't tell a living soul,' you said. 
You made it a direct order." 

"Umph. Well, keep it that way. I — uh — I have to go back up- 
stairs. Better get the rest of the robots started on dinner." 

Morey left, not comfortably. 

The dinner to celebrate Morey's promotion was difficult. Morey 
liked Cherry's parents. Old Elon, after the premarriage inquisition 
that father must inevitably give to daughter's suitor, had buckled 
right down to the job of adjustment. The old folks were good about 
not interfering, good about keeping their superior social status to 
themselves, good about helping out on the budget — at least once 
a week, they could be relied on to come over for a hearty meal, and 
Mrs. Elon had more than once remade some of Cherry's new dresses 
to fit herself, even to the extent of wearing all the high-point orna- 

And they had been wonderful about the wedding gifts, when 
Morey and their daughter got married. The most any member of 
Morey's family had been willing to take was a silver set or a few 
crystal table pieces. The Elons had come through with a dazzling 
promise to accept a car, a bird-bath for their garden and a complete 
set of living-room furniture! Of course, they could afford it — they had 
to consume so little that it wasn't much strain for them even to take 
gifts of that magnitude. But without their help, Morey knew, the first 
few months of matrimony would have been even tougher consuming 
than they were. 

But on this particular night it was hard for Morey to like anyone. 
He responded with monosyllables; he barely grunted when Elon pro- 
posed a toast to his promotion and his brilliant future. He was pre- 

Rightly so. Morey, in his deepest, bravest searching, could find 
no clue in his memory as to just what the punishment might be for 
what he had done. But he had a sick certainty that trouble lay ahead. 

Morey went over his problem so many times that an anesthesia 
set in. By the time dinner was ended and he and his father-in-law were 
in the den with their brandy, he was more or less functioning again. 

Management Man: His Future 467 

Elon, for the first time since Morey had known him, offered him 
one of his cigars. 'Tou're Grade Five — can afford to smoke some- 
body else's now, hey?'' 

'Teah," Morey said glumly. 

There was a moment of silence. Then Elon, as punctilious as any 
companion-robot, coughed and tried again. ''Remember being peaked 
till I hit Grade Five," he reminisced meaningfully. ''Consuming keeps 
a man on the go, all right. Things piled up at the law office, couldn't 
be taken care of while ration points piled up, too. And consuming 
comes first, of course — that's a citizen's prime duty. Mother and I 
had our share of grief over that, but a couple that wants to make a go 
of marriage and citizenship just pitches in and does the job, hey?" 

Morey repressed a shudder and managed to nod. 

"Best thing about upgrading," Elon went on, as if he had elicited 
a satisfactory answer, "don't have to spend so much time consuming, 
give more attention to work. Greatest luxury in the world, work. Wish 
I had as much stamina as you young fellows. Five days a week in 
court are about all I can manage. Hit six for a while, relaxed first time 
in my life, but my doctor made me cut down. Said we can't overdo 
pleasures. You'll be working two days a week now, hey?" 

Morey produced another nod. 

Elon drew deeply on his cigar, his eyes bright as they watched 
Morey. He was visibly puzzled, and Morey, even in his half-daze, 
could recognize the exact moment at which Elon drew the wrong in- 
ference. "Ah, everything okay with you and Cherry?" he asked diplo- 

"Fine!" Morey exclaimed. "Couldn't be better!" 

"Good, good." Elon changed the subject with almost an audible 
wrench. "Speaking of court, had an interesting case the other day. 
Young fellow — year or two younger than you, I guess — came in with a 
Section Ninety-seven on him. Know what that is? Breaking and enter- 

"Breaking and entering," Morey repeated wonderingly, interested 
in spite of himself. "Breaking and entering what?" 

"Houses. Old term; law's full of them. Originally applied to 
stealing things. Still does, I discovered." 

"You mean he stole something?" Morey asked in bewilderment. 

"Exactly! He stole. Strangest thing I ever came across. Talked 
it over with one of his bunch of lawyers later; new one on him, too. 

468 The Midas PJague 

Seems this kid had a girl friend, nice kid but a Httle, you know, plump. 
She got interested in art." 

'There's nothing wrong with that/' Morey said. 

''Nothing wrong with her, either. She didn't do anything. She 
didn't like him too much, though. Wouldn't marry him. Kid got to 
thinking about how he could get her to change her mind and — well, 
you know that big Mondrian in the Museum?" 

"I've never been there," Morey said, somewhat embarrassed. 

"Um. Ought to try it some day, boy. Anyway, comes closing time 
at the Museum the other day, this kid sneaks in. He steals the paint- 
ing. That's right — steals it. Takes it to give to the girl." 

Morey shook his head blankly. "I never heard of anything like 
that in my life." 

"Not many have. Girl wouldn't take it, by the way. Got scared 
when he brought it to her. She must've tipped off the police, I guess. 
Somebody did. Took 'em three hours to find it, even when they knew 
it was hanging on a wall. Pretty poor kid. Forty-two room house." 

"And there was a Jaw against it?" Morey asked. "I mean it's like 
making a law against breathing." 

"Certainly was. Old law, of course. Kid got set back two grades. 
Would have been more but, my God, he was only a Grade Three as 
it was." 

"Yeah," said Morey, wetting his lips. "Say, Dad — " 


Morey cleared his throat. "Uh — I wonder — I mean what's the 
penalty, for instance, for things like — well, misusing rations or any- 
thing like that?" 

Elon's eyebrows went high. "Misusing rations?" 

"Say you had a liquor ration, it might be, and instead of drinking 
it, you — well, flushed it down the drain or something . . ." 

His voice trailed off. Elon was frowning. He said, "Funny thing, 
seems I'm not as broadminded as I thought I was. For some reason, 
I don't find that amusing." 

"Sorry," Morey croaked. 

And he certainly was. 

It might be dishonest, but it was doing him a lot of good, for days 
went by and no one seemed to have penetrated his secret. Cherry was 
happy. Wainwright found occasion after occasion to pat Morey's back. 

Management Man; His Future 469 

The wages of sin were turning out to be prosperity and happiness. 

There was a bad moment when Morey came home to find Cherry 
in the middle of supervising a team of packing-robots; the new house, 
suitable to his higher grade, was ready, and they were expected to 
move in the next day. But Cherry hadn't been belowstairs, and Morey 
had his household robots clean up the evidences of what they had 
been doing before the packers got that far. 

The new house was, by Morey's standards, pure luxury. 

It was only fifteen rooms. Morey had shrewdly retained one more 
robot than was required for a Class Five, and had been allowed a com- 
pensating deduction in the size of his house. 

The robot quarters were less secluded than in the old house, 
though, and that was a disadvantage. More than once Cherry had 
snuggled up to him in the delightful intimacy of their one bed in their 
single bedroom and said, with faint curiosity, ''I wish they'd stop that 
noise." And Morey had promised to speak to Henry about it in the 
morning. But there was nothing he could say to Henry, of course, un- 
less he ordered Henry to stop the tireless consuming through each of 
the day's twenty-four hours that kept them always ahead, but never 
quite far enough ahead, of the inexorable weekly increment of ration 

But, though Cherry might once in a while have a moment's 
curiosity about what the robots were doing, she was not likely to be 
able to guess at the facts. Her upbringing was, for once, on Morey's 
side — she knew so little of the grind, grind, grind of consuming that 
was the lot of the lower classes that she scarcely noticed that there 
was less of it. 

Morey almost, sometimes, relaxed. 

He thought of many ingenious chores for robots, and the robots 
politely and emotionlessly obeyed. 

Morey was a success. 

It wasn't all gravy. There was a nervous moment for Morey 
when the quarterly survey report came in the mail As the day for the 
Ration Board to check over the degree of wear on the turned-in dis- 
cards came due, Morey began to sweat. The clothing and furniture 
and household goods the robots had consumed for him were very 
nearly in shreds. It had to look plausible, that was the big thing — no 
normal person would wear a hole completely through the knee of a 

470 The Midas Plague 

pair of pants, as Henry had done with his dress suit before Morey 
stopped him. Would the Board question it? 

Worse, was there something about the way the robots consumed 
the stuff that would give the whole show away? Some special wear 
point in the robot anatomy, for instance, that would rub a hole 
where no human's body could, or stretch a seam that should normally 
be under no strain at all? 

It was worrisome. But the worry was needless. When the report 
of survey came, Morey let out a long-held breath. Not a single item 
disallowed I 

Morey was a success — and so was his scheme! 

To the successful man come the rewards of success. Morey ar- 
rived home one evening after a hard day's work at the office and was 
alarmed to find another car parked in his drive. It was a tiny two- 
seater, the sort affected by top officials and the very well-to-do. 

Right then and there Morey learned the first half of the em- 
bezzler's lesson: Anything different is dangerous. He came uneasily 
into his own home, fearful that some high officer of the Ration Board 
had come to ask questions. 

But Cherry was glowing. "Mr. Porfirio is a newspaper feature 
writer and he wants to write you up for their 'Consumers of Distinc- 
tion' page! Morey, I couldnt be more proud!" 

"Thanks," said Morey glumly. "Hello." 

Mr. Porfirio shook Morey's hand warmly. "I'm not exactly from a 
newspaper," he corrected. "Trans-video Press is what it is, actually. 
We're a news wire service; we supply forty-seven hundred papers with 
news and feature material. Every one of them," he added complacently, 
"on the required consumption list of Grades One through Six inclu- 
sive. We have a Sunday supplement self-help feature on consuming 
problems and we like to — well, give credit where credit is due. You've 
established an enviable record, Mr. Fry. We'd like to tell our readers 
about it." 

"Um," said Morey. "Let's go in the drawing room." 

"Oh, no!" Cherry said firmly. "I want to hear this. He's so modest, 
Mr. Porfirio, you'd really never know what kind of a man he is just to 
listen to him talk. Why, my goodness, I'm his wife and I swear I don't 
know how he does all the consuming he does. He simply — " 

"Have a drink, Mr. Porfirio," Morey said, against all etiquette. 

Management Man; His Future 471 

''Rye? Scotch? Bourbon? Gin-and-tonic? Brandy Alexander? Dry 
Manha — I mean what would you like?" He became conscious that he 
was babbling like a fool. 

''Anything/' said the newsman. "Rye is fine. Now, Mr. Fry, I 
notice youVe fixed up your place very attractively here and your 
wife says that your country home is just as nice. As soon as I came in, 
I said to myself, 'Beautiful home. Hardly a stick of furniture that isn't 
absolutely necessary. Might be a Grade Six or Seven.' And Mrs. Fry 
says the other place is even barer." 

"She does, does she?" Morey challenged sharply. "Well, let me 
tell you, Mr. Porfirio, that every last scrap of my furniture allowance 
is accounted for! I don't know what you're getting at, but — " 

"Oh, I certainly didn't mean to imply anything like that/ I just 
want to get some information from you that I can pass on to our 
readers. You know, to sort of help them do as well as yourself. How 
do you do it?" 

Morey swallowed. "We — uh — well, we just keep after it. Hard 
work, that's all." 

Porfirio nodded admiringly. "Hard work," he repeated, and fished 
a triple-folded sheet of paper out of his pocket to make notes on. 
"Would you say," he went on, "that anyone could do as well as you 
simply by devoting himself to it — setting a regular schedule, for ex- 
ample, and keeping to it very strictly?" 

"Oh, yes," said Morey. 

"In other words, it's only a matter of doing what you have to do 
every day?" 

"That's it exactly. I handle the budget in my house — more ex- 
perience than my wife, you see — but no reason a woman can't do it." 

"Budgeting," Porfirio recorded approvingly. "That's our policy, 

The interview was not the terror it had seemed, not even when 
Porfirio tactfully called attention to Cherry's slim waistline ("So many 
housewives, Mrs. Fry, find it difficult to keep from being — well, a little 
plump") and Morey had to invent endless hours on the exercise ma- 
chines, while Cherry looked faintly perplexed, but did not interrupt. 

From the interview, however, Morey learned the second half of 
the embezzler's lesson. After Porfirio had gone, he leaped in and spoke 
more than a little firmly to Cherry. "That business of exercise, dear. 
We really have to start doing it. I don't know if you've noticed it, but 

472 The Midas Plague 

you are beginning to get just a trifle heavier and we don't want that 
to happen, do we?" 

In the following grim and unnecessary sessions on the mechani- 
cal horses, Morey had plenty of time to reflect on the lesson. Stolen 
treasures are less sweet than one would like, when one dare not enjoy 
them in the open. 

But some of Morey's treasures were fairly earned. 

The new Bradmoor K-50 Spin-a-Game, for instance, was his very 
own. His job was design and creation, and he was a fortunate man 
in that his efforts were permitted to be expended along the line of 
greatest social utility — namely, to increase consumption. 

The Spin-a-Game was a well-nigh perfect machine for the pur- 
pose. ''Brilliant," said Wainwright, beaming, when the pilot machine 
had been put through its first tests. ''Guess they don't call me the 
Talent-picker for nothing. I knew you could do it, boy!" 

Even Rowland was lavish in his praise. He sat munching on a 
plate of petits-fours (he was still only a Grade Three) while the tests 
were going on, and when they were over, he said enthusiastically, "It's 
a beauty, Morey. That series-corrupter — sensational! Never saw a 
prettier piece of machinery." 

Morey flushed gratefully. 

Wainwright left, exuding praise, and Morey patted his pilot 
model affectionately and admired its polychrome gleam. The looks 
of the machine, as Wainwright had lectured many a time, were as 
important as its function: "You have to make them want to play it, 
boy! They won't play it if they don't see it!" And consequently the 
whole K series was distinguished by flashing rainbows of light, provoc- 
ative strains of music, haunting scents that drifted into the nostrils 
of the passerby with compelling effect. 

Morey had drawn heavily on all the old masterpieces of design — 
the one-arm bandit, the pinball machine, the juke box. You put your 
ration book in the hopper. You spun the wheels until you selected 
the game you wanted to play against the machine. You punched but- 
tons or spun dials or, in any of 325 different ways, you pitted your 
human skill against the magnetic-taped skills of the machine. 

And you lost. You had a chance to win, but the inexorable sta- 
tistics of the machine's setting made sure that if you played long 
enough, you had to lose. 

That is to say, if you risked a ten-point ration stamp — showing. 

Management Man: His Future 473 

perhaps, that you had consumed three six-course meals — your statistic 
return was eight points. You might hit the jackpot and get a thousand 
points back, and thus be exempt from a whole freezerful of steaks and 
joints and prepared vegetables; but it seldom happened. Most likely 
you lost and got nothing. 

Got nothing, that is, in the way of your hazarded ration stamps. 
But the beauty of the machine, which was Morey's main contribution, 
was that, win or lose, you always found a pellet of vitamin-drenched, 
sugar-coated antibiotic hormone gum in the hopper. You played your 
game, won or lost your stake, popped your hormone gum into your 
mouth and played another. By the time that game was ended, the gum 
was used up, the coating dissolved; you discarded it and started an- 

"That's what the man from the NRB liked,'' Rowland told 
Morey confidentially. ''He took a set of schematics back with him; 
they might install it on all new machines. Oh, you're the fair-haired 
boy, all right!" 

It was the first Morey had heard about a man from the National 
Ration Board. It was good news. He excused himself and hurried to 
phone Cherry the story of his latest successes. He reached her at her 
mother's, where she was spending the evening, and she was properly 
impressed and affectionate. He came back to Howland in a glowing 

''Drink?" said Howland diffidently. 

"Sure," said Morey. He could afford, he thought, to drink as 
much of Rowland's liquor as he liked; poor guy, sunk in the con- 
suming quicksands of Class Three. Only fair for somebody a little 
more successful to give him a hand once in a while. 

And when Howland, learning that Cherry had left Morey a 
bachelor for the evening, proposed Uncle Piggotty's again, Morey 
hardly hesitated at all. 

The Bigelows were delighted to see him. Morey wondered briefly 
if they had a home; certainly they didn't seem to spend much time 
in it. 

It turned out they did, because when Morey indicated virtuously 
that he'd only stopped in at Piggotty's for a single drink before dinner, 
and Howland revealed that he was free for the evening, they captured 
Morey and bore him off to their house. 

474 The Midas Phgue 

Tanaquil Bigelow was haughtily apologetic. "I don't suppose this 
is the kind of place Mr. Fry is used to/' she observed to her husband, 
right across Morey, who was standing between them. ''Still, we call 
it home.'' 

Morey made an appropriately polite remark. Actually, the place 
nearly turned his stomach. It was an enormous glaringly new mansion, 
bigger even than Morey's former house, stuffed to bursting with 
bulging sofas and pianos and massive mahogany chairs and tri-D sets 
and bedrooms and drawing rooms and breakfast rooms and nurseries. 

The nurseries were a shock to Morey; it had never occured to 
him that the Bigelows had children. But they did and, though the 
children were only five and eight, they were still up, under the care 
of a brace of robot nurse-maids, doggedly playing with their over- 
stuffed animals and miniature trains. 

'Tou don't know what a comfort Tony and Dick are," Tanaquil 
Bigelow told Morey. 'They consume so much more than their rations. 
Walter says that every family ought to have at least two or three 
children to, you know, help out. Walter's so intelligent about these 
things, it's a pleasure to hear him talk. Have you heard his poem, 
Morey? The one he calls The Twoness oi — " 

Morey hastily admitted that he had. He reconciled himself to a 
glum evening. The Bigelows had been eccentric but fun back at 
Uncle Piggotty's. On their own ground, they seemed just as eccentric, 
but painfully dull. 

They had a round of cocktails, and another, and then the Bigelows 
no longer seemed so dull. Dinner was ghastly, of course; Morey was 
nouveau-riche enough to be a snob about his relatively Spartan table. 
But he minded his manners and sampled, with grim concentration, 
each successive course of chunky protein and rich marinades. With 
the help of the endless succession of table wines and liqueurs, dinner 
ended without destroying his evening or his strained digestive system. 

And afterward, they were a pleasant company in the Bigelow's 
ornate drawing room. Tanaquil Bigelow, in consultation with the 
children, checked over their ration books and came up with the 
announcement that they would have a brief recital by a pair of robot 
dancers, followed by string music by a robot quartet. Morey prepared 
himself for the worst, but found before the dancers were through that 
he was enjoying himself. Strange lesson for Morey: When you didn't 
have to watch them, the robot entertainers were fun! 

Management Man: His Future 47S 

''Good night, dears/' Tanaquil Bigelow said firmly to the children 
when the dancers were done. The boys rebelled, naturally, but they 
went. It was only a matter of minutes, though, before one of them 
was back, clutching at Morey's sleeve with a pudgy hand. 

Morey looked at the boy uneasily, having little experience with 
children. He said, ''Uh — what is it, Tony?" 

''Dick, you mean,'' the boy said. "Gimme your autograph." He 
poked an engraved pad and a vulgarly jeweled pencil at Morey. 

Morey dazedly signed and the child ran off, Morey staring after 
him. Tanaquil Bigelow laughed and explained, "He saw your name 
in Porfirio's column. Dick loves Porfirio, reads him every day. He's 
such an intellectual kid, really. He'd always have his nose in a book 
if I didn't keep after him to play with his trains and watch tri-D." 

"That was quite a nice write-up," Walter Bigelow commented — 
a little enviously, Morey thought. "Bet you make Consumer of the 
Year. I wish," he sighed, "that we could get a little ahead on the 
quotas the way you did. But it just never seems to work out. We 
eat and play and consume like crazy, and somehow at the end of the 
month we're always a little behind in something — everything keeps 
piling up — and then the Board sends us a warning, and they call me 
down and, first thing you know, I've got a couple of hundred added 
penalty points and we're worse off than before." 

"Never you mind," Tanaquil replied staunchly. "Consuming 
isn't everything in life. You have your work." 

Bigelow nodded judiciously and offered Morey another drink. 
Another drink, however, was not what Morey needed. He was sitting 
in a rosy glow, less of alcohol than of sheer contentment with the 

He said suddenly, "Listen." 

Bigelow looked up from his own drink. "Eh?" 

"If I tell you something that's a secret, will you keep it that way?" 

Bigelow rumbled, "Why, I guess so, Morey." 

But his wife cut in sharply, "Certainly we will, Morey. Of course! 
What is it?" There was a gleam in her eye, Morey noticed. It puzzled 
him, but he decided to ignore it. 

He said, "About that write-up. I — I'm not such a hot-shot con- 
sumer, really, you know. In fact — " All of a sudden, everyone's eyes 
seemed to be on him. For a tortured moment, Morey wondered if he 

476 The Midas Plague 

was doing the right thing. A secret that two people know is com- 
promised, and a secret known to three people is no secret. Still — 

''It's like this/' he said firmly. ''You remember what we were 
talking about at Uncle Piggotty's that night? Well, when I went 
home I went down to the robot quarters, and I — '' 

He went on from there. 

Tanaquil Bigelow said triumphantly, "I knew it!" 

Walter Bigelow gave his wife a mild, reproving look. He declared 
soberly, "You've done a big thing, Morey. A mighty big thing. God 
willing, you've pronounced the death sentence on our society as we 
know it. Future generations will revere the name of Morey Fry." He 
solemnly shook Morey's hand. 

Morey said dazedly, "I what?'' 

Walter nodded. It was a valedictory. He turned to his wife. 
"Tanaquil, we'll have to call an emergency meeting." 

"Of course, Walter," she said devotedly. 

"And Morey will have to be there. Yes, you'll have to, Morey; 
no excuses. We want the Brotherhood to meet you. Right, Howland?" 

Howland coughed uneasily. He nodded noncommittally and took 
another drink. 

Morey demanded desperately, "What are you talking about? 
Howland, you tell me!" 

Howland fiddled with his drink. "Well," he said, "it's like Tan 
was telling you that night. A few of us, well, politically mature persons 
have formed a little group. We — " 

''Little group!" Tanaquil Bigelow said scornfully. "Howland, 
sometimes I wonder if you really catch the spirit of the thing at all! 
It's everybody, Morey, everybody in the world. Why, there are 
eighteen of us right here in Old Town! There are scoies more all over 
the world! I knew you were up to something like this, Morey. I told 
Walter so the morning after we met you. I said, 'Walter, mark my 
words, that man Morey is up to something.' But I must say," she 
admitted worshipfully, "I didn't know it would have the scope of 
what you're proposing now! Imagine — a whole world of consumers, 
rising as one man, shouting the name of Morey Fry, fighting the 
Ration Board with the Board's own weapon — the robots. What 
poetic justice!" 

Bigelow nodded enthusiastically. "Call Uncle Piggotty's, dear," 
he ordered. "See if you can round up a quorum right now! Meanwhile, 

Management Man: His Future 477 

Morey and I are going belowstairs. Let's go, Morey — let's get the new 
world started!" 

Morey sat there open-mouthed. He closed it with a snap. ''Bige- 
low/' he whispered, ''do you mean to say that you're going to spread 
this idea around through some kind of subversive organization?" 

''Subversive?" Bigelow repeated stiffly. "My dear man, all creative 
minds are subversive, whether they operate singly or in such a group 
as the Brotherhood of Freemen. I scarcely like — " 

"Never mind what you like," Morey insisted. "You're going to 
call a meeting of this Brotherhood and you want me to tell them 
what I just told you. Is that right?" 

-Well— yes." 

Morey got up. "I wish I could say it's been nice, but it hasn't. 
Good night!" 

And he stormed out before they could stop him. 

Out on the street, though, his resolution deserted him. He hailed 
a robot cab and ordered the driver to take him on the traditional 
time-killing ride through the park while he made up his mind. 

The fact that he had left, of course, was not going to keep 
Bigelow from going through with his announced intention. Morey 
remembered, now, fragments of conversation from Bigelow and his 
wife at Uncle Piggotty's, and cursed himself. They had, it was perfectly 
true, said and hinted enough about politics and purposes to put him 
on his guard. All that nonsense about twoness had diverted him from 
what should have been perfectly clear: They were subversives indeed. 

He glanced at his watch. Late, but not too late; Cherry would 
still be at her parents' home. 

He learned forward and gave the driver their address. It was like 
beginning the first of a hundred-shot series of injections: you know 
it's going to cure you, but it hurts just the same, 

Morey said manfully: "And that's it, sir. I know I've been a fool. 
I'm willing to take the consequences." 

Old Elon rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. "Um," he said. 

Cherry and her mother had long passed the point where they 
could say anything at all; they were seated side by side on a couch 
across the room, listening with expressions of strain and incredulity. 

Elon said abruptly, "Excuse me. Phone call to make." He left 

478 The Midas Plague 

the room to make a brief call and returned. He said over his shoulder 
to his wife, "Coffee. We'll need it. Got a problem here." 

Morey said, ''Do you think — I mean what should I do?" 

Elon shrugged, then, surprisingly, grinned. ''What can you do?'' 
he demanded cheerfully. "Done plenty already, I'd say. Drink some 
coffee. Call I made," he explained, "was to Jim, my law clerk. He'll 
be here in a minute. Get some dope from Jim, then we'll know better." 

Cherry came over to Morey and sat beside him. All she said was, 
"Don't worry," but to Morey it conveyed all the meaning in the world. 
He returned the pressure of her hand with a feeling of deepest relief. 
Hell, he said to himself, why should I worry? Worst they can do to 
me is drop me a couple of grades and what's so bad about that? 

He grimaced involuntarily. He had remembered his own early 
struggles as a Class One and what was so bad about that. 

The law clerk arrived, a smallish robot with a battered stainless- 
steel hide and dull coppery features. Elon took the robot aside for a 
terse conversation before he came back to Morey. 

"As I thought," he said in satisfaction. "No precedent. No laws 
prohibiting. Therefore no crime." 

"Thank heaven!" Morey said in ecstatic relief. 

Elon shook his head. "They'll probably give you a reconditioning 
and you can't expect to keep your Grade Five. Probably call it anti- 
social behavior. Is, isn't it?" 

Dashed, Morey said, "Oh." He frowned briefly, then looked up. 
"All right. Dad, if I've got it coming to me, I'll take my medicine." 

"Way to talk," Elon said approvingly. "Now go home. Get a 
good night's sleep. First thing in the morning, go to the Ration 
Board. Tell 'em the whole story, beginning to end. They'll be easy on 
you." Elon hesitated. "Well, fairly easy," he amended. "I hope." 

The condemned man ate a hearty breakfast. 

He had to. That morning, as Morey awoke, he had the sick 
certainty that he was going to be consuming triple rations for a long, 
long time to come. 

He kissed Cherry good-by and took the long ride to the Ration 
Board in silence. He even left Henry behind. 

At the Board, he stammered at a series of receptionist robots and 
was finally brought into the presence of a mildly supercilious young 
man named Hachette. 

Management Man: His Future 479 

''My name/' he started, ''is Morey Fry. I — Fve come to — talk over 
something I've been doing with — " 

"Certainly, Mr. Fry/' said Hachette. "Fll take you in to Mr. 
Newman right away." 

"Don't you want to know what I did?" demanded Morey. 

Hachette smiled. "What makes you think we don't know?" he 
said, and left. 

That was Surprise Number One. 

Newman explained it. He grinned at Morey and ruefully shook 
his head. "All the time we get this," he complained. "People just 
don't take the trouble to learn anything about the world around them. 
Son," he demanded, "what do you think a robot is?" 

Morey said, "Huh?" 

"I mean how do you think it operates? Do you think it's just a 
kind of a man with a tin skin and wire nerves?" 

"Why, no. It's a machine, of course. It isn't human." 

Newman beamed. "Fine!" he said. "It's a machine. It hasn't got 
flesh or blood or intestines — or a brain. Oh — " he held up a hand — 
"robots are smait enough. I don't mean that. But an e